More and more of us are making a conscious effort to pencil in a bit of switch-off time. A bit of ‘me time’. A moment of quiet.
In a non-stop world where our phones are never really switched to silent – and sometimes, in fact, neither are our minds – it’s important to take a step back and start again.
Some people find their ‘zen’ in yoga, in meditation, in reading – or by getting lost in the countryside. This winter, we’re finding the ultimate zen escape by the coast on our doorstep
Saltburn-based photographer, Ben Benoliel, reached out to tell us of his exciting new project. Something oh-so simple, yet oh-so effective.
Take a property a stone’s throw from the waves, add a little interior flair here and there, and open up as a place to rest, relax and recharge.
Ben teamed up with wife Leanne and his best pal Neil Bedford, who he met at university 10 years ago, to come up with this unique and refreshing new concept.
Not only is The Artists Pad an uber cool hideaway, perfect for Saltburn staycations all year round, it invites like-minded creatives to enjoy the serene space at their leisure.
From holidaymakers to writers, poets, musicians and photographers, it’s a tranquil hideaway for people looking to spark that creative connection.
In the demanding world we live in today, it’s the perfect solution. A place to switch off, settle into your own thoughts and give yourself some space to retreat – and maybe even discover something new about yourself.
“Neil and I have been best friends for over 10 years,” says Ben.
“We studied photography together at university in London. When we left, he went and did the freelance thing, and I went into e-commerce.
“He has done really well; he’s pretty much photographed everyone. He’s Kasabian’s photographer, so he travels around with them a lot. Sergio is his ‘other best friend’, as I put it,” he laughs.
“He tours the world with Kasabian and shoots for all sorts of different publications. He was based in London until last year. Every time he had the opportunity, he would escape London and come to Saltburn to stay with us.
“He was spending a lot of time up here, but he didn’t have a place. This property came up for sale and he bought it.
“But he wasn’t using the place at all. He was never there, so he was going to get rid of it – at which point, I said ‘why don’t we make it into a holiday let?’ – and the rest is history.
“But over time, and after we bounced ideas off each other, it’s turned into a museum of all sorts of interesting things.
“It’s like a studio, but it’s not focused on productivity and work, it’s more focused on rest, relax and recharge. Because of the crazy world we’re all living in, Neil and I have both always had a very similar view on how stressful things can get.
“That’s the thing that we’re most passionate about… being able to invite people to get away from the stresses of every day.”
When it comes to artistic flair and imagination, your surroundings are so very important. A busy working environment can sometimes send you into a state of mind block; and the thought of sitting and staring at a big blank screen can be quite daunting. For me, leave me in a peaceful place with a pencil, a notebook and no internet connection, and I’m away. All of which, I am enjoying as I write this piece.
Inside the pad, you’ll find a hive of creative exhibits. From local painters and intriguing pieces by conceptual artists, to star-studded quotes and design-led decor – everything tells a story, and that’s what’s so great about this funky new seaside spot.
The interiors have been pulled together with works collated by the pair. Nods to Ben’s fashion editorial background, as well as artistic designs by Daft Apeth (Serge Pizzorno from Kasabian), picked up by Neil.
“The interior is basically an amalgamation of things that we’ve collected over the years,” says Ben.
“We’ve got some work from a local painter called Bob Mitchell, we’ve got another conceptual artist called Deb Covell. We’ve also got an artist, who is fairly infamous in the arts scene, called Richie Culver.
“We’ve got works that haven’t been donated, but we’ve collected from notable artists and photographers.
“Neil shot Ed Sheeran for a cover of Clash Magazine. They had a big piece of artwork glass for the shoot – afterwards Ed signed it with a Sharpie. That’s on display at the top of the stairs, which is quite interesting.”
Together, Ben and Neil have the creative flair, the industry contacts and the added charm of the North Yorkshire coast, all backing them in what is set to be a brilliant, and truly unique, business venture here in the North East.
If you’re a creative and would like to apply for a residency, or you like the sound of a ‘recharge the mind and body’ retreat to the Saltburn seaside, please contact Ben and Neil at The Artists Pad on: [email protected]