This month, for the second time, I packed-up paintings, stacked them in the car, drove to London and spent a day hanging them in the gallery. The first time was last December when, after only four days, London was thrown into a surprise lockdown and my exhibition was closed. It was especially disheartening because getting the show set-up was gruelling in the cold and darkness of December after months and months of social turmoil last year.
The upside was working with Gloria and Carlos of Espacio Gallery (Shoreditch). These two art-lovers where upbeat and hardworking - together we finished setting-up the show at 10pm on Sunday night. It was the best day of 2020 for me - to have two people experienced with art exhibitions carefully unpack my paintings and respectfully hang them on the walls of the gallery while we discussed at length the right composition for the show. I felt respected and welcomed.
So, repeating the same drive in May 2021 was a little odd - same place, same exhibition - different vibe and different people. This time, my friend Nick H sacrificed his weekend to help get the exhibition on its feet and give me a second chance to show the Touch Me collection.
Having had a rehearsal it was much faster to set-up and I felt more confident about managing the week ahead. There were so many more people in East London and each day there were many visitors to the show. I met with a couple of groups of art students who were keen to understand the work.
The influential art critic Tabish Khan (@LondonArtCritic) very kindly graced the show with a visit; he's used to far more significant venues and artists so, frankly, I was amazed when he walked in with his friend, artist Caroline Banks. The delightful Erin Caswell came too (Christie's staff member and author of The Salterton Arts Review). I had no idea she was from New Zealand so, we had a chat about living in the UK and about the art. She wrote a blog about the show and dubbed me "one to watch".
There were lots of sincere conversations with people who visited for the art and made the whole exercise worthwhile. Later in the week, I was surprised by the arrival of a director from a very influential London gallery. When this person chose to acquire one of my drawings I was genuinely amazed and could have closed the show right then feeling perfectly satisfied.
Ultimately, pictures were acquired by collectors in Surrey, Kent and Berkshire. Many connections were made, lessons gleaned, lovely conversations enjoyed and pictures taken. Such a transformation from the first attempt. Nick H donated another weekend to help close the show and travel back from London to Surrey. A press release has been sent highlighting the success and optimism is high for the year ahead.
I do hope you'll be able to attend the next show later in the year. In the meantime, I'm welcoming any opportunities to show the work in regional galleries around the UK. If you're interested in a piece from the collection, let me know.