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yay retro! talks to Andrew of the Fish & Ships Gallery

One of the artists who really stands out for me and really makes my day whenever I see a post on social media, whether it be Facebook or Instagram is Andrew Ruffhead. This is the man making all of the artworks at the Fish & Ships Coastal Art Gallery at Burnham Market, Norfolk. His work includes original printmaking, drawing, paintings and huge wooden fish, whales, prawns and crustaceans made from pieces of boats and found wood along the seashore.


Andrew and his wife Sarah have been kind enough to have a good old chat about all things art and fishy for the yay retro! blog, so here goes…hope you enjoy browsing Andrew’s work and finding out more.

Apparently Andrew is Fish mad! He loves all fish, especially Tuna, Squid and Octopus, and is also a dab hand at cooking it.  He tells me: “I think Fish are taking over my life! We love to eat all things fishy, though it was moving to North Norfolk a stones throw from the stunning coast here that inspired a whole new business for me....So many of my customers have light bright seaside-themed holiday homes so my artworks sit very well in this lovely environment.”

Initially Andrew studied Painting and Printmaking in Brighton. He went on to study Printed Textile Design at the Central School of Art and Design, consequently worked for many years as a textile designer working for reputable companies such as Osborne and Little, Designers Guild and Calvin Klein. I think you get a real sense of this in his work.

After teaching at the Chelsea School of Art, Andrew became Head of the Printed Textile Department at the University of East London for fifteen years.  His accreditations and work experiences are tremendous, working in India and more recently being commissioned via The National Lottery to produce a large lino-print for the foyer of the Cromer Museum in Norfolk. 

At the root of all Andrew’s art is drawing, he draws every day and that is where his ideas start. He tells me that he also loves making things;  “it is all the more rewarding when I can ‘up cycle’ and re-use something that was deemed junk, or a ‘found’ piece of old weathered boat. Each piece of art, be it a whale or a fish can therefore tell a story.”

Andrew admires the detailed drawings of artists such as Eric Ravillious, and wood engravings by artists such as Gertrude Hermes. Contemporary artists he admires include the bright colourful abstracts by Howard Hodgkin and Barbara Rae.

If you follow Andrew and Sarah on social media, you quickly realise they also have a lovely house overlooking the sea in southern Spain which they visit several times of the year. Whilst there, Andrew mainly works on ideas for drawings and prints. He has done lots of paintings of Spanish food such as Tapas & Paella. Sarah tells me; “he likes drawing plates of seafood….”

We asked Sarah about their houses, and she tells me that both are very white and contemporary - home to lots of art, books and shells. Happily, Sarah is a regular customer at yay retro!, buying vintage items for their home in Spain.

She tells me: “one of the things we also love about yay retro! is the way you present your products, it’s very clever to couple them with vintage paper & fabric designs.”  Both she and Andrew like the idea of injecting 1960s retro styling into their kitchen.  They love the melamine trays at yay retro! with loud `flower-power` designs, and tell me that: “the trays have an obvious nostalgic appeal from childhood, and are now cool in their own right. We have several in Spain and they are fun and eye-catching. We also love anything with a fish design of course including the milk jug by Norwegian designer Figgjo Flint, and the Kaarina Aho fish plaque by Arabia, Finland which we bought several years ago from you”.

You can find Andrews work to buy online on his website here

Fancy a trip around yay retro! ? Click here

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