Monday, 16 April 2012

Q & A with Art Trail homeowner and artist Martin Priestley

Martin Priestley, owner of 19 Titus Street tells us all about the experience of opening his house to the general public as part of the Arts Trail, including a chance encounter with the a rude ex-tenant of his house.

Martin will also be exhibiting his photographs as part of the Arts Trail.

How long have you lived in Saltaire & why did you choose to live in the village?
I’ve lived here for about five years. The things that attracted me here are the things that make Saltaire so special; the architecture and the sense of community. There is also a strong artistic community in the village; it seems to attract creative people.

Are there any interesting facts/histories you’ve discovered about your home?
My house has a tragic story attached to it. It was the home of a worker called James Dewhirst, who was killed in an accident in Salts Mill in 1860. His family remained in the village until the early 1900s.

Are you an artist-homeowner? If so, what is it like being an artist in Saltaire and on the arts trail?
Yes, I will be exhibiting some of my landscape photography when I open up my house for the art trail. Saltaire is a very inspirational place to live and work. I run photography workshops in the village, and the architecture provides a great backdrop. The art trail has introduced me to lots of other artists, as well as other people from Saltaire and the wider community.

How long have you participated in the Arts Trail?
I wasn’t part of the very first art trail as I’d only just moved into my house, but I’ve been involved in every art trail since.

What changes have you seen over the years (on the trail)?
The trail has become larger and more established over the years, and it’s attracting more and more great artists. When I first opened my house the art trail was still part of the Saltaire Festival. It is now an established, stand-alone event in its own right.

What inspires you to open your home over the years?
It’s a great opportunity to show my work, and meet people, especially the ones who come back year after year. There is always a really nice buzz around Saltaire when the art trail is on. The chance to look inside different houses in the village, and see the sheer variety of art is always a real privilege. 

Any interesting stories/events/ or any special memories of the trail and/or happenings in your home?
You do meet some real characters on the art trail. I remember a few years ago an old gentleman who told me that he grew up in Saltaire, and one of his friends used to live in my house. He then proceeded to tell a series of stories so rude that they are unprintable!

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