Ten’s To See: Ed Curtis’ ‘My First Bedroom’ At Foxall Studio

Bringing colour, quirkiness and bold eccentricity to the raw and grungy streets of East London, Ed Curtis‘ premier solo exhibition is now on view at Foxall Studio. Running for a short time only from Thursday, September 7 to Tuesday 12, the debut showcases an intimate insight into Curtis’ life, particularly his childhood and how his formative years allowed for his creative expression to blossom and ultimately, define his work.    

My First Bedroom exhibits paintings and textural quilts (akin to the offbeat bags, swirling tees and waggish hoodies and hats he’s treasured for) created in Curtis’ hometown in Hertfordshire and the provincial family home where he grew up. Since moving back in 2022 and establishing a studio in what he describes as his “ultimate safe space”, the familiarity of the setting has allowed him to realign himself with his distinct and rather kaleidoscopic creative expression. “Being in the countryside allows me the freedom to explore ideas I wouldn’t be able to do living in London, I can take more risks now and not worry so much about the constant pressure of just existing in the city,” he tells Ten. 

Curtis’ teenage years were spent plastering his walls, from floor to ceiling, with personal memorabilia and was when he first learned to externalise the magic that cascaded in his inner world, creating an all-encompassing artist’s lair of visuals in the midst. That energy transcends as soon as you enter the humble exhibition space – reflecting the artist’s effortlessly whimsical aesthetic. Cascading with vibrant swirls and cartoonish graphics, his work is child-like but not child-ish, with motifs and an abundance of figurative characters illuminating the space to provide the perfect eye-catching backdrop to the vivacious banana-quilted bed that sits in the middle. “I’m really interested in characters and symbols that are instantly recognised as having this childlike wonder, freedom and playfulness,” he explains. “You see a lot of smiling suns and dancing bananas floating in clouds. It’s quite artificial, I guess, but I get so much joy from creating it. I hope that people who see my work get a sense of escapism. I feel like it’s very much needed.” 

The studio space is in the middle of renovation so its exposed, century-old floorboards and unfixed squeaky stairs give it a sense of grittiness while the kinder-coloured graphics evoke  a sort of weightless innocence. The maximalist designs offset the the studio’s borderline threadbare interior. 

Curtis’ wants visitors to experience a sense of joy and unadulterated happiness when viewing his exuberant works, and that red thread that certainly runs throughout. He says, “I’d like viewers to leave the exhibition with a strong sense of who I am as an artist. I want people to feel like they’ve just been to a theme park, hopefully feeling really great but maybe a little bit sick.” 

It’ll make you feel warm, wild and unapologetically free. In today’s increasingly vexatious world, Ed Curtis’ My First Bedroom is a breath of fresh air. 

Photography by Maxwell Tomlinson.


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