Welcome to CAOS, Carshalton Artists Open Studios. In 2020, due to COVID19 we went online and below you can find details of what we achieved. Also on this page you can find out about previous CAOS events.
CAOS started in 2016, with three friends and founders of Carshalton Artists, Helena Vaughan, Abel Kesteven and Neal Vaughan chatting about maybe exhibiting with a few artists. Neal Vaughan and Abel Kesteven were inspired by a conversation down the local, The Hope, and soon convinced Helena Vaughan what a great idea it was to have an open studios event in Carshalton.
In our first year the we hoped for 1000 visitors, we got nearly double that! We thought we might get a few friends to exhibit and instead had an amazing 32 artists in 20 locations. Those locations included Honeywood Museum, a place where many of the Carshalton Artists had started exhibiting. The elements for all CAOS events were there from the start, free workshops and demos, great art and a showcase of local heritage.
Little did we expect the overwhelming public response. From the start we had local businesses and community supporting us and this willingness to help and be a part of CAOS became such an amazingly unexpected thing. So the foundations for a great event and future events were there from the start.
Half way through planning we met the incredible Doug Shaw, who kindly donated 12 Kingfisher pictures, hidden in some of the locations as a free art drop. Events like that would not only spread the word but give something back to the local community. The themed art trail was born.
After this first event the message was clear, that we had to do it again.
Did you experience CAOS in 2018. Over two very hot weekends (remember the 2018 heatwave?) we shared art and televised football (yes, remember the 2018 World Cup?) with the local community, it was a heady mix!
We grew from 2017 to accept over 40 artists, carefully selected by a now established CAOS selection committee. Once again these amazing artists were showcasing the techniques and processes used in creating their art in free inclusive demonstrations and workshops across 25 locations.
Heritage was once again at the forefront of our thinking and we celebrated with local schools the work of Pauline Boty the founding member of the British Pop Art scene who lived in Carshalton. Pauline died way too young, at the start of what would have been an outstanding career and so three local schools, St Philomena's, Wallington County and Wallington Girls, handed in collaged artworks inspired by Pauline and the Pop Art scene.
Visitor numbers grew to over 2000 people, despite the clashes with England's Group games in the World Cup and these visitors had new locations to visit, including the popular Stonecourt schools building in Grove Park. This location gave us something new, a craft fair, mixed artist location.
We were again overwhelmed by the response from local artists, business and the council. It was such an exciting time, to realise that maybe the event was here to stay. Without this support events like this just fade away.
CAOS 2019 always going to be bigger and with well over 3000 visitors to the locations we certainly achieved what we set out to do. We grew in artists numbers with 60 artists exhibiting and 24 locations. They showcased their techniques and processes in more free inclusive demonstrations and workshops, some closely linked to the theme of Arts and Crafts.
Sutton Museums and Heritage were heavily influential on the picking of the theme this time and they partnered CAOS in celebrating the life and work of Frank Dickinson, who built the historic arts and crafts inspired Little Holland House in Carshalton Beaches. The theme was used in specialist adult only lino cut workshops run by Jackie Smith. Two local schools, St Philomena's and Wallington Girls, also took inspiration from the work of Frank Dickinson, making over 100 pieces of bunting, that were hung in Honeywood Museum and Calladoodles in Carshalton High Street.
Another first for CAOS was the pig trail. With most artist locations participating by creating ceramic pigs, displayed at locations, available to win in a raffle. One lucky winner also won £100 towards an artist of their choice, with the winner picking Catherine Fairclough and buying a lovely large canvas.
Once again than you to all that supported us, all of you that did the trail and our amazing partners. Without you we could not continue to grow. We planned more for 2020, but then came COVID19 and the online studios.
As the country plunged into lockdown we made the difficult decision to cancel CAOS 2020, but we still wanted to do something, so CAOS went online.
Carshalton Artists 'Online' Studios was such fun to achieve. We introduced lots of new events and showcased over 40 artists work online through the website. The website hosted online video content with artists conducting studio tours, demonstrations and live workshops. We introduced a new dance event too, where dancers came to get involved and artists came to draw.
You can click on The Open Windows image to see how that and the Open Streets events created interest and showcased artists work at a socially acceptable distance, with the open streets displaying 42 A4 laminated artists pictures across the whole of Carshalton, Beddington and Carshalton Beeches. Finally, we had an online trail with water themed competition.
We really enjoyed the challenge and had nearly 2000 visitors online to the website, so we certainly achieved all we set out to do.
Our supporters were more than ever so important to us, all of you that visited the website, got involved with the workshops and our amazing partners. Without you we could not have survived in these difficult times. We plan to be back in 2021 with much, much more.