Jess Blandford is a local artist whose abstract paintings and drawings celebrate the mundane, messy and often invisible work of family life. She is taking part in Artists’ Open House on the 11th & 12th May, and her painting features on the front cover of this year’s brochure.

How long have you lived in the area?

We moved here in 2011 when we were expecting our first child.

What brought you here?

I knew the area from being at art college in Camberwell, and my aunt and uncle live here. Schools, parks and the creative vibe were important too.

What do you most value about the area/street you live in?

Fellbrigg Road has to be the best street in East Dulwich! Shuffling distance to North Cross Road market, the cinema, Franklins, Oddonos, and all the tomatoes you could ever need at Bora. Not to mention the prettiest cherry blossom in the ‘hood.

What one thing would you change?

Has to be the dog poo. Urghhh.

Do you know your neighbours?

We do. We’re lucky to have kind and interesting people living around us, with a mix of ages and backgrounds. One of our octogenarian neighbours tells great stories about moving here from Barbados in the 1960s and working for the probation service. Christmas drinks are never dull.

Do you belong to any groups?

I’m in a Women’s Art Collective called Second Shift. We meet monthly to critique and champion each other’s work. I’m also a member of Gathered (a local membership community to support parents). I love how they normalise the ups and downs of motherhood with gentle intelligent humour.

Coffee or tea? Where?

Always tea. I leave a wake of cold half-drunk mugs wherever I go. My favourite place for a cuppa is Soderberg on Lordship Lane. Those scandi cinnamon buns…

The best kept secret…

The hidden art studios around Dulwich – behind closed gates, and in back gardens. Artists’ Open House is a great chance to nose around inspiring spaces that you’d never usually get to see.

Where’s your favourite place to walk?

My happy place is Beckenham Place Park – my studio is in the Mansion on the hill. Walking in the woods there is always a balm to troubles. The bluebells in April/May are stunning and you can go wild swimming in the lake. It’s only 25 mins from East Dulwich by car or train.

What is your favourite shop?

Rye Books on North Cross Road. Alastair has a great collection of art books and graphic novels and can get any book you want delivered next day.

What was the last thing you bought there?

Claire Keegan’s ‘Small Things Like These’. It’s beautifully constructed. Her descriptions of the everyday rubbing along with the extraordinary are very powerful, and its themes of hope and kindness feel very important to me at the moment.

My secret ambition..

To show my work at 155A gallery on Bawdale Road. I always love the artists that exhibit there and the way that Karen curates the space – it’s very like Kettle’s Yard. It’s not very subtle to mention it here is it!?! But worth a shot…!

Instagram @jessblandford