We checked in with Lois O’Hara, an artist and designer from Brighton who has recently painted ‘Colour is Power’ at Oxo Tower Wharf. Her instantly recognisable blobs, wiggles and patterns have been taking over the public domain in the past few years in the form of murals, art direction and design. Her brand ethos has a consistent thread running through it. “I’m interested in capturing the fluidity of an image in motion,” says Lois, and it’s this sense of fluidity, combined with her bold colour combinations that makes her style so individual.
- The title of the mural at Oxo Tower Wharf is ‘Colour is Power’ – could you tell us a little more about where this came from? Is this your mantra?
Yes, I see colour as such an important thing as I think that it can improve mental health, deliver inspiration and encourage a positive well-being.
- We are so thrilled with your mural at Oxo Tower Wharf! How do you think Colour is Power will affect the visitor experience at the building?
Thank you! I really hope that people will follow my “flow”. The idea behind the project was to entice people into Oxo Tower Wharf and to encourage them to explore all of the shops that are tucked away. It’s a great place and my artwork should hopefully gently encourage people to open their eyes and move around.
- Which project has been the most challenging for you?
It was absolutely my first ever Basketball Art Court that I renovated in Brighton. The project took a year to plan and 10 days to paint. With not much support and the stress of running out of paint, it was unbelievably hard to complete. So many people ask me now how (or why) I did that. I just knew it would be worth it in the end so I powered through. I have recently renovated 2 more basketball courts at Sussex University though and this project went a lot smoother…
- You’re still very much involved in the painting process of your work, do you think you’d ever step back and let someone else paint the work with your supervision? Or is it important to you that you’re still a part of the process of making?
I always want to be a part of it but I can’t keep doing everything myself as I will burn out. I haven’t yet found someone who I trust to paint my crisp / wavey lines…
- I see your work as an antidote to the humdrum banality of day to day life – the work brightens public space in a very light-hearted and unexpected way. Is this sense of intervention in public space something that drives you?
Yes it is! I’m really interested in transforming public spaces / spaces you wouldn’t expect to see colour / design. You have to keep people on their toes! I guess it’s my way of giving back to society, by trying to brighten up the spaces that surround others.
- What do you want people to feel when they’re looking at your work? Is happiness the goal?
In today’s world we are constantly distracted and our flow through life gets disjointed / broken. I want my work to put people back into a state of flow.
- A lot of your work is very permanent, huge murals that will be there for long periods of time – does this daunt you at all when making the work? Not at all, it excites me!
- We are fast approaching New Creatives season at Oxo Tower Wharf: Graduate shows are always a buzz of fear and excitement, do you have any advice for students in the arts graduating this summer? Forget about what grade you get. Especially if you want to be Freelance / work for yourself! Just always be the hardest worker in the room.
Discover Lois’s large scale mural ‘Colour is Power’ covering the walls of the first floor lobby at Oxo Tower Wharf.
Where to view
Take the lift or the stairs (courtyard, riverside east end, riverside west end) to the first floor of Oxo Tower Wharf. You’ll find the mural surrounding the walls of the lift lobby. The building is open to view everyday from 11am – 6pm and you can visit the 25+ designer-maker studios situated over the first and second floors too!Return