We redecorated the smallest room recently and I have been trying to find exactly the right art piece for it. I commissioned myself to produce a new piece of art for the loo. After much playing and a lot of fun, I have designed a tryptic, based on the expressive life drawing classes I’m taking with @chriswoodartist at the moment.
At the classes I go large – A1 – but these are tiny, about 5″ square, so I can mount them in a particular frame. They look great!
Watercolour, oil pastels, wax crayon and acrylic inks. (Click for a larger version).
To be with one another forever and to have no doubt
(Nor feel exhaustion at the prospect)
Is the goal of those who, like us,
Speak in whispers through the night,
Whose one fear is of how Eternity just might
Be too short a time,
And for whom the briefest separation is a crime.
Brian Patten (from Collected Love Poems) – a superb collection.
The exhibition is over. The room is empty. The project that has consumed the last six months every waking thought is packed away in bubblewrap and I am left a little bereft and wondering what to do. So how did it go?
Over the 15 days the exhibition was open, we had 1028 (adult) visitors which is an incredible achievement. It was always interesting watching people viewing the work – a mixture of art lovers who had come specifically and parents of children at Action Stations who wandered into an alternative universe from the noisy child centred activity around us.
Of the ‘walk ins’ it was clear that some were not used to seeing an art exhibition but in the spirit of wandering around the Dockyard perhaps, they gave it a go and had a good look round. It was very rewarding to feel that we may have challenged some beliefs about what fine art is all about.
We had some favorite moments, like when a child asked his Dad what my 3D installation ‘Opportunity’ was. “That’s art Henry, that’s art” he replied 🙂
And when we had a bone fide (and rather handsome) celebrity visit who was presumably just visiting the dockyard with their kids for the holidays, but it was lovely of him to drop in.
A couple of kids were unruly and we had some damage to a couple of things (luckily repairable) – but we always knew that was a risk but the benefits of having so many kids (not counted in the numbers above) see the show out-weighed that completely.
For my own stats, we were keeping record of the number of times that Being Present was triggered and how many people saw it through to the end. I always knew that a 2 minute art performance would stretch many people as the average time someone will stand infront of a piece of art is usually measured in seconds! I’m still working on the data but will post figures soon.
The raffle was extremely successful – 6 original pieces of art from the artists – there was something for everyone as entrants could prioritise their favorites. In the event, when the raffle was called, everyone got their first or second choice. Jenny Walden, Associate Dean, at the University of Portsmouth was there to receive her winning piece from me which was lovely!
So what made our exhibition so successful? I put it down to two factors. Firstly, location location location! We had a wonderful space in one of Britain’s top tourist attractions – that was a great move! Secondly the effort and expense we went to for marketing – it was the lion’s share of our spending but worth every penny. I was always gratified by people coming in with one of our fliers, or who said they heard about us on Twitter or who had read about us in the local paper. And of course we were on the Big Screen too!
I’ve been a bit delayed doing this post as I have been manning the show but I finally got a few mins free. The opening night went brilliantly, the art looked amazing and even better, hundreds of people showed up and said nice things. It was also lovely to bump into so many people I know electronically and put faces to Twitter IDs!
The only glitch was at 5.45, just before we were expecting our VIPs, the power went out! As with all the minor issues this week, we were not expecting that one! Quickly fixed by Will running up the stairs and flipping the switch back 🙂
This morning I could hardly eat my breakfast I was so nervous about installing my last piece “Liminal Man” – in the comfort of my own home, exhibiting a 10ft digital photograph seemed simple, but the logistics of getting it hanging in the room were far from that.
In the end, although it took a while, with the help of the wonderful Will, there he was, splendid in his new home. The rest of the day was taken up alternatively waiting around or frantically working as people came to help.
By the end of the day, it was pretty much there. It looks incredible, I know I keep saying that but to see your work, hanging in such a professional space is quite amazing. I only hope our visitors think so too!
And the unexpected part? The staff at Action Stations, especially Will, are the most cheerful and helpful people I have ever had the pleasure to work with. Even when I wanted to move a piece that Will had painstakingly hung earlier in the day, he just smiled and said “of course”. Such a breath of fresh air to find people who clearly love where they work. Thank you all.
So I thought yesterday threw up something unexpected. This morning we settled down to paint, opened one of the two huge vats given to us by the Art College only to find it was compound filler not paint! I saw our tightly balanced schedule going right out of the window. But a phone call to the college (who were aghast at their mistake) sent a techie down in his car to swap the buckets of polyfilla for some more acceptable white emulsion and within half an hour we were back on schedule – not bad considering how far the college is.
Another busy day but we got two coats onto everything, without making a mess – so tomorrow we hang!!!
I took my camera into Portsmouth today and had a couple of relaxed wanders, firstly around the city centre and later around the coast and Old Portsmouth. I forgot how relaxing I found this kind of photography – I had a fun day!