Fire-hit artist’s studio back in action after public rallies to help

Artist Grant Dejonge
Artist Grant Dejonge

When landscape painter Grant Dejonge’s studio went up in smoke so did hundreds of pounds worth of his work.

Several completed canvasses were lost along with vital materials after an electrical fault started the studio fire in the back garden of the Dejonges’ home in Plumpton.

The local community rallied round and raised funds for the artist whose paintings adorn the walls of many country homes across Sussex.

Despite the setback, Grant is now up and running as an artist once again having replenished his supplies.

Coincidentally the Cube gallery, at the South Downs Heritage Centre in Hassocks had invited Grant to submit work for an exhibition entitled Into The Black which opened on Friday.

Grant is renowned for his lush landscape scenes and was at a bit of a loss as to what he could exhibit.

Sifting through the wreckage of his burnt out studio he rescued some fire damaged paintings and started work on restoring them.

The result is a collection of surreal scenes which will be on show at the Cube gallery exhibition until August 5.

“It’s a bit like a phoenix rising from the ashes,” jokes Grant. Some of the rescued paintings are still in their charred frames.

“The Into The Black theme gave me the perfect opportunity to practice a more enigmatic style of painting.

“Also, the exhibition is a way of repaying all the people who contributed to an internet ‘gofundme’ page set up by concerned customers to help rebuild the studio and replenish my stocks and materials.

“Without their help I would not have been able to recover so quickly,” said Grant.

Before moving to Plumpton with wife Jackie and their two children, Grant lived in Brighton where he had something of a reputation as a street-art pioneer.

The winner of a national art-republic competition to highlight the plight of young homeless people, one of his three metre high murals can still be seen in the Lanes in Brighton.

“Into The Black enabled me to revisit a darker place and engage in a little bit of powerful, mysterious and timeless social commentary - and to demonstrate a little artistic versatility,” said Grant.