about Red Hen

The Red Hen Artists roots go a long way back to 1994 when founders of the group, art school graduates Abi Macleod-Clark and Lou Partridge met as employees of CJ Graphics, the long gone art supplies shop in Bond Street, Brighton, UK.  Abi and Lou started working on creative projects together under the name of Red Hen.  When photographer Colin and Lou met as employees of the Theatre Royal in Brighton in 2000 a partnership was formed and they began hatching plans for the Red Hen Artists. Red Hen continued to accept commissions for display design, artwork/illustration and theatre design, adding photography to their portfolio. In 2004 they were offered a Churches Conservation Trust building as a venue for the Brighton May Fringe Festival, and Abi & Lou gathered their creative friends and formed the 'Red Hen Artists Collective', under which name the group has exhibited for Brighton Festivals 2004, 2005, 2006 2007, 2008, 2009 & 2010 as well as various projects and exhibitions outside of Festival time. 

All of the artists in the group studied creative subjects at college or university, all have 'day' jobs, some part time, some full time, and the idea of the group is that it brings together and motivates the artists to keep on aiming for their goal of making a good income from what they love to do. Previously the artists had found it difficult to find opportunities to show their work in Brighton & Hove as individuals, and the name ‘Red Hen’ comes from the children’s story of the little red hen who decided, as no-one would help her with her project, to ‘do it herself’!

Red Hen exhibitions are planned way ahead, a theme is set for artwork and the artists meet regularly to talk about ideas, compare notes and encourage each other with the projects. The artists also do all the behind the scenes work that goes into organising the event, which always takes more time than the artwork and includes admin, finance, print design & liaising with printers, organising catering, making display boards, arranging lighting, doing risk assessments, marketing, press and distribution of posters/flyers/leaflets. The artists also staff and run workshop events during the exhibitions themselves.  

As you can imagine, organising exhibitions is lot of work and Hens have come and gone! The current group, now known as Red Hen Artists, are: Abi Macleod-Clark, Colin Bourner, Jonathan Lodge & Lou Partridge, with occassional guest artists.

Apart from organising, contributing work to and running exhibitions, Red Hen Artists also work on freelance illustration, fine art, photography and design projects, theatre design and making commissions, and organise and run workshops (recent clients include Komedia Brighton/Churchill Square Shopping Centre Brighton and Chichester Cathedral).

Red Hen events are currently quiet as Colin & Jon are off travelling. Abi continues to work from her Gozo based Studio, running and participating in events in Malta. Lou is teaching arts and crafts full time and working on her own projects in Sussex.


Lou Partridge

red hen logo shadow

Red Hens Abi, Jonathan & Lou,
Brighton beach 2004


Lou, Colin & Chris May 2010