‘Contemporary Icons’ open at Hartlepool Art Gallery

‘Contemporary Icons’ is my first solo exhibition. To celebrate, I’m going to share five things I learned along the way. I’ll leave interpreting the paintings to you!

1. Intricate Planning: I genuinely made a 12-week list of everything I was doing, both morning and afternoon, to make sure there was enough time to dry in between the 5/6 sittings each painting requires (5/6 quick sittings is how I get the flat sort of finish I like, plus it allows me to build up subtle layers of colour behind the final surface). If I was on schedule, I crossed the days off, if I wasn’t… I rescheduled for another day. Sounds simple, but it’s totally mad when you think painting is this creative, fluid, intuitive process. I think I only managed to get away with this because there was so much variation in the series… faces, patterns, mixing the perfect blue… something for every mood!

2. Learning About Prints: I’ve been thinking about prints for a while but it was totally alien to me. I went into my local print shop absolutely clueless and came out clueless, but after a few visits I began to realise what I wanted. I now know which paper I like and what to ask for. It’s great because it makes my work far more accessible than it’s ever been! Click here to see for yourself! 

3. The Value Of A Professional: I couldn’t find mountboard frames that were the right size and shade of white (I know, it sounds petty but most ‘whites’ are more like cream, which does nothing for my work), so I spent an entire valuable evening cutting out my own frames from a large sheet of mountboard. Lesson learned… always pay for a professional to do this. The man at my local framing place has a machine and it’s not even too expensive to get done. I think this was the best lesson I learned… knowing when to involve a professional!

 4. Telephone Skills: One week before the exhibition opening I called every local newspaper to let them know about the exhibition. As I don’t live locally, I thought this would be a great way to let people know about my work. I’m not sure if anyone has visited as a result, but I’ve had some lovely feedback through the articles, including being described as “one of the most exciting young artists in Britain”. Click here and here for other articles.

5. Van Skills: I’m so proud that I once worked for the company Van Girls in London. If I hadn’t, imagine how I would have dealt with the fact the rental company didn’t have any short wheel base vans left for my booking, so they had to give me a long wheel base for my 450 mile round trip! My reaction was to ask what the MPG was. If I hadn’t once had to reverse into tiny Central London on-street parking spaces with the clients watching, who knows how I might have reacted. Thank you Van Girls! Also, thank you because I also now know how to properly pack my work.

I’m sure there are more, but that’s it for now.

‘Contemporary Icons’ is open until 10th November 2016 at Hartlepool Art Gallery. Check out the photos below. Thanks for reading!

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