As part of our #BringBackBrightonDome Crowdfunder campaign we’ve interviewed some of the people who have donated their work or offered their in-kind support to help secure our future re-opening.
Graham Cameron has been a Visitor Services Assistant at Brighton Dome for nearly 20 years. During lockdown Graham has been working on a personal art project, including an illustration of Brighton Dome which has now been produced as a print for our campaign rewards.
Graham, you’ve worked at the venue for nearly two decades, what have been some of your most memorable moments or favourite gigs?
Memorable moments happen here all the time! On my 18th work anniversary in 2018, I was asked on Facebook to name my top 10 events. They’re in no particular order but it still remains unchanged.
- Cirque Eloize - Cirkopolis
- Pirates of the Carabina - Flown
- The Tiger Lillies - Rime of the Ancient Mariner
- Swedish metal band Ghost
- Jimmy Cliff
- The Specials
- Meeting UB40 when they celebrated the 30th anniversary of their Signing Off album
- Glen Campbell on his last ever UK tour
- ZooNation - Into the Hoods - the best thing I ever took my daughters to see
- And the Flaming Lips are always worth seeing just for the sheer extravaganza and showmanship.
It’s also great to discover new music, a band will turn up to play and I might have never heard of them but by the end of the night they’ve got a new fan. American rock band, The War on Drugs is one example, another is Future Islands, I’d never heard their music until they played at the venue and they’re now a favourite on my playlist.
You must know every inch of the building, what’s your favourite part?
It has to be the roof void in the Concert Hall, it remains the only part of the building still untouched since it was first built as the Prince Regent’s stables over 200 years ago. There are patterns painted on the ceiling that can only be seen if you’re up there, it’s an incredible part of history.
I also really like the entrance into the east corridor with the great sweeping staircase. Another place I love to stand is on the upstairs mezzanine bar overlooking the foyer just as the doors open, it’s interesting to watch the appropriately dressed audience coming into to see the show.
How did you feel when the venue closed back in March?
When the venue closed in March, I didn’t expect it to still be closed for this long. At the time I was sure the Festival would still be going ahead in May. I guess no one actually knew how things were going to turn out.
Like many Brighton Dome staff you have been on furlough during the closure, how has making art helped you deal with these difficult times?
It’s been a great focus. I didn’t realise that back in March I was going to become this involved in it. As the months have passed and the world we know has changed in so many ways, I’ve illustrated my way through it. I now have a complete body of work and every piece has a synopsis as a reminder being fed to us in the news. I now have 30 complete pieces and I’m aiming for 32 as I’m hoping to exhibit them all in the venue. It’s been really interesting seeing what’s come out over the last few months.
Are you self taught or did you train as an artist?
I’ve always been creative and did four years at art college which taught me lot. Before I started working at Brighton Dome I made a basic living from my art, I’ve exhibited several times over the years and worked on mural projects.
You’ve created a beautiful illustration of Brighton Dome, what technique did you use?
The image is painted with gouache watercolours with a black pen outline on cartridge paper. I’ve scanned the original to produce the prints which are on Giclee paper, it’s actually the first time I’ve used this process.
What do you miss about working in the venue?
I miss the atmosphere of a live show and the buzz of seeing an audience engaging with a band. When I’m working in the venue, watching all the equipment arriving, the creation of a stage set, how every part of the building gets used, and then seeing the audience arrive and the place coming alive. Then the locking up in the silence when it feels like the walls are still vibrating from the atmosphere. Or sometimes getting a poster signed by an artist is always a bonus. Most of all its the people, every arts venue attracts creative people.
When Brighton Dome re-opens who would you like to see perform?
Just before we went into lockdown I was looking forward to seeing the Boomtown Rats. I also had Frank Skinner in the diary and Marc Almond is always a favourite, same as Katie Melua and Dionne Warwick - that’s a once in a life time opportunity.
Graham’s Brighton Dome print can be purchased from our Crowdfunder page here
Check out Graham's work here