Friday, 27 April 2012

Cinema Gallery April 2012

I'm not sure what the current price of guano is but, judging by the state of my van I may become very rich soon. It's been parked in Aldeburgh every day this week you see,  right by the beach.

I'm sure the buggers were laughing at me as I tramped from the van through the drought rain to the Cinema Gallery  each morning for my exhibition.

I know some artists who spend a lot of time and effort priming and texturising their canvasses before beginning their paintings. Try leaving them on Aldeburgh beach for half an hour ..... job done! My old van looks like a giant novelty wedding cake now.

It's been quite a struggle to make a living through the past winter, what with the recession etc. sales have been quite slow so I was looking forward to getting started with this seasons exhibitions and fairs, maybe catch up a bit with my bills hopefully.

Setting up the exhibition on Thursday had gone well. It's my 4th time in the Cinema Gallery so I knew roughly what to take and how I would lay it out.

Confidence was quite low on Friday morning, even though I'd done all I could think of regarding publicity etc. I'd even had a haircut! I'd like to be an optimist but I just know I'd be shit at it.

The dogs had to be walked before I went in and of course I got soaked to the skin. However, a hot shower (only Co-Op shampoo....because I'm worthless) perked me up and off I went.

Parking up by the White Lion hotel (free parking all day...Woohoo!) I put my large poster inside the windscreen of the van for a bit of extra advertising and set off. On my way past the fishing huts I spotted a homeless man huddled against the sea wall. I stopped to share a sandwich with him..... "Bugger off and get yer own!" he roared at me...... miserable old git.

Anyway, here are a few snaps although I did constantly change things around as things sold.

It's a nice space this gallery, light and airy and plenty of room. I had about 45 original pictures altogether, as well as loads of prints and cards. The only downside is that it's on the first floor so you don't get people just falling in off the street, they have to make the effort to come up the stairs therefore footfall is quite light. However those that do make their way in are mostly people who are interested and tend to stay quite a while, giving me a chance to get a conversation going. In fact the very first person to come in bought a large print so, a good start.
Those canvasses you can see in the first photo are a new thing for me and I was quite pleased with them. I got them from a company called YouFrame who are always offering discounts so I bought them over the past few months as and when I had a voucher, meaning the outlay wasn't too high. They proved to be quite popular and I sold three of the six I had brought along.

Saturday came and as usual I made my way down to Sizewell beach at about 7 o'clock with the dogs, only to find the place had been completely taken over by the nuclear power protesters. They come every year, dozens of tents and vans strewn all over the sand dunes and beach in the shadow of the power station. Some were just waking up and crawling out of their bivouacs to start the day. One particularly heavily bearded and grizzled, filthy looking individual gave me a toothless smile (man! she was ugly) and said good morning. I made the mistake of returning a cheerful greeting but then got caught up in a lengthy conversation it was difficult to escape from. Eyes were glazing over as she lectured me on the effects minute levels of radiation might be having on the fish and seagulls over a prolonged period.

I disagreed with her views entirely and made the mistake of telling her so. I've been eating fish and watching the wildlife on this coastline for years and never noticed any problems. On the contrary I'm quite pleased with the way that the power people have conserved the area and made it one of the best spots for bird watching and the like, along this coast. Just then there was a panic stricken shout from one of the little tents. I looked and could see a large ginger backside sticking out from under the front of it. From the vigorously wagging tail I realised Murphy must have made a new friend..... heh heh! good old Murph, never lets me down. I took that as my cue to move on and proceeded with my day.

During the week quite a few of my Facebook friends dropped in to see me at the gallery. Some, like Stephen and Mita Higton I'd met before whereas others like Laina West, Lois and Garry Prismall, Annie Mclean and Caroline Keen I met in person for the first time which was really great. Along with plenty of my local friends and followers it helped to stop me climbing the walls with boredom. Thanks again everyone for the support and for making the effort. 
There are always a few twats to contend with though. People with extremely loud clothes and voices to match, barging in and acting like they own the place. "Oooh! a STAAAAG.... reminds me of me last trip to the Highlands..." boomed a particularly obnoxious cretin in a tweed coat and bright yellow trousers. Yeah right..... I had to fight the urge to push him down the stairs on his way out. I should have done really. It would be nice to get my money's worth out of the third party liability insurance.

Several others, seeing all of my African wildlife art, bored me to death with their stories of regular Safari in Africa, looking at me pitifully as I explained that I've never been able to afford to venture further than Banham Zoo for my reference material. Perhaps if they got their wallets out a bit more that might change.

Another man who was actually wearing a bow tie and blazer and the most obvious toupee I've ever seen (what planet are these people from) came marching in completely ignoring me and my exhibition, collared a couple who were quietly browsing my prints and proceeded to discuss at the top of his voice, the lecture he was about to give in the theatre below. I wonder how he would have felt if I'd marched into his lecture while he was in  full flow and started shouting about my art exhibition to his audience....... give me strength. Aldeburgh does seem to be full of them, but I still love it here. Keeps me entertained.
On the whole, the vast majority of people I met were really lovely and it was a pleasure to spend time chatting to them. I managed to make sales every day, mostly prints but a few originals too so the week was a success financially, although not enough to sponsor a trip to Africa..... yet.

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