Photo by Adam Bronkhorst
decorative artist and Fever Club curator
Are you local?
Yes, I live in Seven Dials. I grew up in Zimbabwe and moved to Brighton when I was seven. My father’s family were all here. I’ve since been back to Zimbabwe with my sister and I was so surprised how familiar it was. The smell, the heat. Everything was so evocative. It was home.
You’ve worked in fashion and fabric and more recently furniture and wallpapers (and Snowdogs). How do you describe what you do?
I’ve only recently decided what I am. I’ve never felt that I was an artist, and an illustrator is a very practical term, so I’ve decided that I’m a decorative artist. I just like decorating things, whether it’s clothes, walls, furniture, pictures... It’s quite an old-fashioned term but I like it.
Where is your favourite place in the city?
I was so very impressed with the Pavilion as a child and it still makes me gasp when I walk in there. Initially I loved it for its decorative surfaces but, since becoming a patron and learning more about its history and how it relates to Brighton, I love it even more. George was a huge patron of the arts. He was very forward thinking, employing lots of local people and creating this incredible, modern atmosphere.
What do you like to do at the weekend?
I don’t think I’ve stayed in on a Saturday night for at least a couple of years. Eating’s cheating on a Saturday night, so we’ll start in the pub. I love The Dorset but we’ll always end up in The Black Dove or Bar Broadway and then dancing. A perfect Sunday is getting up late, going for a walk or a kayak and cooking some food. Then we’ll put on some music, invite some friends and maybe have a dance. My partner Matthew and I work on Saturdays and take Mondays off, so Monday has become the new Sunday.
How did the Fever Club come about?
When I was 18 my friends would put on nights in whatever place would let us bring a turntable and when I turned 40 I decided that I was going to have a massive party every year. Then a friend asked if I would throw a party for his birthday, then we decided to have one on midsummer’s night... My neighbours were very forgiving but we thought we’d better find a venue and now the Rialto feels like home. We hold Fever Club every three months and we talk about it obsessively in between, deciding on the theme and the decorations. We call it a salon of soul and it’s not fancy dress but it is dress fancy. We’re holding one at The Spiegeltent on the 5th of May. The Spiegeltent! But it’s only three hours long and we’ve got a 12-hour playlist...
Is there anything that you don’t like about Brighton?
There’s nothing that I don’t like, but walking home after a fantastic night out and seeing more and more people sleeping in doorways really upsets me. And more and more of them are women. I know that so many people in Brighton want to do something about it, but they don’t know how. I’m terribly proud of our little republic of Brighton, but how do we fix this?
When did you last swim in the sea?
Probably in October. My mum’s got a beach hut so we all share that. I’m quite a hardy sea swimmer. I did once go in very early in April and when I came up I couldn’t breathe. That was really stupid.
saraharnett.co.uk / modernlovestudio.co.uk
Photo by Adam Bronkhorst