34 Fort hill
Famed for its silvery beaches, historic architecture, countless bric-a-brac stores, and thriving art scene, Margate has been Davy's favourite escape from London for years.
On a visit in 2020, he came across a neglected former stamp shop calling out for a new lease of life, and despite the challenging circumstances at the time he felt compelled to reimagine and restore this unique space.
The shop, often affectionately referred to as the smallest store in Margate, charmed Davy with its elegant facade, unique layout, and position on the edge of the Old Town that overlooks the Turner Contemporary.
After carefully reinstating and elevating the building's original features, he converted the space into a private gallery and creative studio that showcased work from a diverse network of queer artists and makers.
34 Fort hill
ct9 1hd, Margate
34 Fort Hill was open by appointment between October 2020 and September 2022.
Fluff! by kavel rafferty
A collection of redacted vintage postcards of animals, reminiscent of the taxidermied birds, kittens and puppies beloved of the Victorians, these anthropomorphic pets sport brightly-coloured bodysuits. A curiosity - they are camp, cute, kinky and just a little bit sinister...
This menagerie of animals was on display in the window of my Margate space until early December 2021 with a curated selection available to purchase online.
The Wicked Witch of the West descended onto Margate this Halloween!
I really wanted something camp and fun to brighten up the street this year so as a starting point I looked at Kenn Duncan's amazing book "Red Shoes" which led me to that iconic photo of Margaret Hamilton in The Wizard of Oz.
With some cardboard and leftover paint, I recreated her silhouette in the window, as if she snuck inside the shop to steal the book. For some additional spookiness, I used a green LED light at night to make her come alive!
queer joy is an act of resistance
During Margate Pride 2020, Rachael House took over my space at 34 Fort Hill and we collaborated on a window graphic which was part of the Margate Pride Art Trail. Rachael also created a beautiful A3 risograph poster which was given away to visitors.
Our joint overarching message - that queer joy is vital to sustain us - was full of hope and an invitation to those we wish to welcome into our lives: cats, queers, artists, witches, crones and more!
Inside the space, Rachael showcased her other artworks including individually drawn tiles, her new book "Resistance Sustenance Protection", and her wall hanging Genderqueer deity sculptures, which protect queers and their kin from gender conformity and elite powers attacking the rights of women, womxn and marginalised communities.
Alongside Rachael's work, I also curated a selection of other queer objects, books and art touching upon the theme of queer joy.
we allow them to dream
To celebrate my return to Margate after the lockdown I invited Felipe Chavez to showcase his new body of work "We Allow Them To Dream".
For the last few years, Felipe has focused on the interpretation and exploration of the male form through the use of his own body. However, in his latest series, Felipe for the first time invites unknown 'straight' men to create gentle charcoal drawings darkened with bold geometric lines of Indian ink.
Felipe's art resonated with me as it explores the male form and its relationship with sexuality and space. We also discovered a shared interest in the arousing qualities of voyeurism and its parallels with the fetishisation of objects and art of "display" in retail and interior design.
To compliment Felipe's work I also commissioned a new collection of provocative vessels by Sid Henderson and collaborated with collage artist Jack Ravi.
a queer christmas
The first concept for my space featured a combination of specially commissioned and existing work by two of my favourite queer artists:
Rachael House, a fine artist based in Whitstable who makes events, objects, performance, drawings and zines. Rachael's work mainly focuses on feminist/ queer politics and resistant histories/herstories.
Russel J R Harris, a visual artist/maker/trainee yoga teacher born in Romney Marsh, currently living in Berlin. Russell describes himself as a 'maker merchant mammal' and has worked with clients and brands such as Simon Costin, Tim Walker, Fabergé, Hermès, Vogue and Karl Lagerfeld.
For this first installation, I really wanted to work with artists who have roots in the local area so I was delighted that both Russell and Rachael agreed to be part of this project!
For the interior and decor I emulated the colours and mood of the silvery beaches of Margate, often covered in clusters of wild seaweed. The tree featured Russell's pearl-encrusted baubles and leather feathers and was covered in Old Man's Beard. It was overlooked by Rachael's apotropaic genderqueer deities, bringing us all health and happiness during this very challenging holiday season.