Aspex, Portsmouth’s leading contemporary art gallery, has commissioned Hannah Rhodes, a final year Visual Comunication student from The Arts University Bournemouth to create portraits of regulars in pubs around Southsea to celebrate the inaugural Pulse Fringe Festival in June.

During an exploration of some of the many public houses for which the naval city is famed, Hannah chatted with and drew local regulars, capturing images and quotes that she then transferred onto a beer mat format. The beer mats will be printed and distributed to pubs throughout the city. They will be available for people to use as they were always intended, or to take away as miniature artworks. Giant versions of the beer mats will be featured in the Debenams shop window in Southsea high street for two weeks in the run up to the Pulse Festival and during the Food Festival.

Director of Aspex Joanne Bushnell commented “I was hugely impressed by the simplicity and professionalism of Hannah’s work, which I first encountered during the Arts University’s summer show in 2010. We are thrilled that the gallery has been able to commission her to work with us on this project which has engaged local people and will enable the gallery to raise its profile throughout the City.”

The commission, developed to engage with local businesses and communities, was organised by Aspex as part of ?Landscapes, Cities, People?, a project part-funded by the European Union via the Interreg IVA 2 Seas Programme.