Ask Therese Cooper what brought her to Emsworth and the answer is simple: “I love the mud!”
Therese moved to Emsworth last August and is now making her debut appearance on the Emsworth Art Trail.
“I had a gallery in Worthing, but I lived in Hurstpierpoint and then I moved. I love the mud. I just love all that space and all that light that feels like it is constantly changing. You get the feeling that there is always something going on underneath the mud. I just love it. I don’t know why!”
The annual Emsworth Arts Trail this year offers a record-breaking number of artists and groups taking part.
Venues throughout the town will see a total of 107 participants exhibit during the last weekend in April and the first weekend in May.
Cartoonist/illustrator and printmaker Therese is delighted to join them. Working as Min Cooper, she will be showing originals of published cartoons, open and limited edition prints and cards that celebrate the everyday.
“I just love the fact that it is not a gallery … because I find galleries rather intimidating. It seems like you have got to step over something to go into a gallery and walk in. They are not often very welcoming. They are often rather pleased with themselves and you think ‘I am not sure I want to go in there!’ They just seem intimidating.
“There is often very little in most galleries and it is just them saying they are rather special and that you have to be a special person to go in.”
Therese’s point is that most art is in people’s home’s anyway – and that homes are therefore a good place to view art and also to meet the artist.
“[The art trail] is reassuring. It is an event.
“You go into the houses on these days and it is easy and there is a map and it is all very clearly marked.
“I draw mainly. I worked for 20 years as a cartoonist and illustrator for newspapers and magazines. I was working a lot for The Guardian and The Times and The New Statesman and it is all coming back. It went right off in the 1990s and early 2000s, but now if you pick up newspapers and magazines, it is all becoming popular again – because photographs don’t always do it. They have not always got the interest for the eye, somehow, that an illustration has.
“I was doing more social and cultural rather than overly political. I illustrated the letters page for The New Statesman and I did the Monday arts page for The Guardian. I just did what was asked. But the same things were coming up again after around seven or eight years. I went through it twice and I thought, I have got nothing to say here and the times have changed.”
However, Therese is thinking that she might see if she can find a way back into newspapers and magazines again at some point …
“During the time I was illustrating, the way newspapers were made changed. I had to learn to use a computer and I fell in love with drawing straight into a computer. I took control again. I fell in love with the technique and with the immediacy of it, the way it goes straight to print.”
But, for the moment, the big focus is the Emsworth Art Trail. Therese will be exhibiting at her home at 11 Washington Road, Emsworth, PO10 7NN. There is on-street parking outside the house. She will be open on the first weekend of April 27 and 28 and the second weekend May 4, 5, and 6, from 11am-5pm.