Welcome to the Gallery

Imagine is set in the Suffolk village of Long Melford.
This is an attempt to record the daily trials, tribulation and pleasure of running an art gallery.

Monday 12 March 2012

As a total departure from the last post I thought that I would show something totally different.
Well not actually me but some of the things that I do.
For a very long time I have felt very frustrated that I am not creating anything , or contributing anything of my own to the gallery [although in the next few weeks I do intend to play once again with clay].
But this isn't totally true as occasionally I do take photographs, most of the time it is to capture
pictures of different art that is shown in the gallery.
Lots of the time artists supply their own images which makes it a lot easier but every now and again I am told "you're a photographer, can you take pictures for me".
Once a potter even came in with three boxes of pots and said "I want you to photograph these for me as I need good pictures as I am applying to enter the C.P.A.
Why would I want to do that?
They weren't even going to come here to the gallery, plus I hated them.
Finding it hard to say no [don't ask me why] I spent a long time on taking pictures then about two weeks later called the potter to tell her that I had something ready.
Two days later she arrived, looked at them and told me that they weren't good enough.
I politely pointed out that I didn't need to be doing this and had other things that I would
be spending my time on rather [so far I had spent two whole days on these pictures].
" I want them done again", she told me.
I pointed out to her that firstly I wasn't a photographer and secondly she was wasn't paying for them.
"but I thought that this is what you do".

Suffice to say both she and her rubbish pots left the gallery very swiftly.
However she was accepted as a member at the C.P.A. [Crafts person Potters Association].
But as I was told by a "famous" potter.
"They accept anyone now, once it used to mean something".

Anyway, getting back to my photographs and talking about me
[what could be more interesting]?
I do take photograph's and always have done since my childhood.
In fact I remember as a sixteen year old being questioned by my headmaster when I left school,
"tell me Foley what are you going to do with your life"?
"I'm going to be a photographer, Sir".

I'm not and never will be but sometimes I still enjoy taking photographs.
They give me pleasure and I do it "because they make me feel good".
Which is a line made famous by John Voight in one of my favourite films "Midnight Cowboy".

I seem to be getting "off track" a little, but I am enjoying thinking about the past.
So, yes I do take pictures and on occasions I hang one on the wall here.
To my surprise every now and again they sell, which makes me tempted to show more but that would defeat the whole purpose of having a gallery, so maybe about four pictures appear here each year.
I really hope not for ego purposes [but it is hard to be sure] but because I think they might be good enough for inclusion. It is hard to be objective when it is something of your own, but I ask myself the same question I ask others who approach me.
"Do you think that it will work alongside the other work on show"?
Some of my pictures do some don't, but as they were just taken for "me" it doesn't matter when I reject myself.
However, lots of my pictures get used as book covers.
There is absolutely no money in it but it is fun when I visit a supermarket and look through the book section to every now and again see one of my pictures on a cover.
I feel like saying to other shoppers "see that book? I did that".
How shallow can I get? But sometimes it is fun.

So recently I had a call asking
"could you do a cover of a book about Anne Boleyn, if you can could it be quick as there is no time available"?
They mailed me a picture of an old painting with the brief:
to look like this painting, but we want her with lots of pearls, it is to have a dark background including a sinister looking man".
Considering that I was leaving to travel across the country 24 hours later I should have said no,
but ego is a funny old thing [or big thing] so I said yes.

The next day had me dressing up my long suffering daughter in different wigs and costumes,
driving around different locations [churches and Tudor houses] and getting different people to be involved.

Many hours and late at night [four hours before I was due to travel] I had a completed picture.
it wasn't perfect but it fitted the description, so I sent it off.

Next day [and three hundred miles away] I received a mail telling me it was "fantastic".
Now I could look forward to seeing it in a few months time on a bookshelf somewhere.
"That was Fun", were my thoughts.

On returning home I had a call telling me that the publisher now had more time and wanted the picture taken again.
This time could I have a "glamorous" female, after all Anne was beautiful [what about that painting], and this time showing more cleavage, more make up, and forget the dark background lighten it up more cheerful and lose that strange man in the background.

After a long conversation which basically amounted to me saying
"I don't do tits"
the agent and I parted company.
Two days later I received a call from a publisher asking "have you any pictures that we could use for a historical non fiction book about Anne Boleyn"?
Yes! [punching a fist in the air] a result.
One of the "out takes" of Rebecca is now going to be appearing shortly in a shopping mall near you.
If you see it don't bother buying it as we get no money, but it was fun all the same.

So I thought that I would show you a few of my pictures that have created a little interest in the past.
The rejected "unglamorous picture" and the cover that is coming out.
Shown at the bottom.

I'm sorry about this little diversion I will return to the gallery tomorrow.

Thursday 8 March 2012

We have had the opening of an exhibition since I last wrote, a lot of other things also have happened some good some bad, I think its called life.
As more time passed the less inclined I felt to write,
the more that happened the more I appreciated that I should have written about events,
so I took the easy option and "buried my head in the sand" and pretended that I didn't keep a blog, it certainly gave me more time to concentrate on other things.

However, I have carried on as usual, reading and being hooked to other peoples blogs and I really look forward to reading how my 'unknowing' friends are getting on with there lives.
I find it so easy [because they write so well] to get caught up in their daily events, it all seems so much more fascinating and interesting than what I do.
Let's face it, I am a shopkeeper and we all know that 'must' be boring, it's just that the things in my shop are interesting that gives me anything to write about at all.
I would love to be out and about having adventures or creating like so many other people, but my life is here in the gallery and most of my venturing out happens between my ears, and as visitors know I am deaf in one so where does that leave me?

But a few days ago a friend [artist] called to ask if I was OK?
"You don't write anymore and I was worried about you".
The sort of comment that makes you appreciate that the person is a friend and not
just a working partner.
I explained that I had "been hiding" and felt that I had nothing of interest to tell.
"Don't be daft, of course you have".
She then explained that when she felt down or negative she would just 'post' pictures until
she felt like writing about life again.
"So do that, just put pictures on your blog when you don't want to write".
I tried but I couldn't so here I am writing.

The exhibition that opened and is still running is a group show, which although that may not be as important to the artists involved as a solo show it certainly adds for more interest from the public.
Lets face it if we had a Picasso exhibition [we are not I might add] the only people who would attend would be lovers of his work [and investors], but with a mixed show more people will visit in the anticipation of discovering the unknown. They did.

'Hare of the Dog'
is the title of the exhibition, and before you ask,
Yes, we are showing Hare's and Dogs.
All of them sculptural, by twelve different artists, some very well known and one totally unknown, in fact it was the first show she has done.
So there was a lot of exciting and very varied work to see, and perhaps the most exciting was by the "unknown" sculptor.
Well, she may have been unknown a few weeks ago but I think that she is now definitely on the 'map' as far as collectors are concerned.

There is a new charity in England called 'Adopt a Potter'.
It was set up to fund and find work placements for aspiring ceramists, as of course in these
hard economic times less artists are able to find the time or finance to employ and train the
future generation of craftsmen
[sorry, that should be 'craftspeople', but "what the heck", I'm an old fashioned guy],
so the charity funds the training of people who have the determination and enthusiasm to
enter the crazy world that uses 'mud' to create a living.
Michelle Cox
was our "unknown" sculptor, and she is an apprentice within the scheme.

We were only looking for about 2 to 4 pieces of work per artist.
Michelle must have created about fourteen, not that she expected them all to be included,
she was just that excited and thrilled to be showing alongside
"so many important people".
She travelled from Liverpool to be here at the opening, which was a great success as well as being a helluva lot of fun.
Having someone that enthusiastic and excited here became contagious and I honestly can't remember when we had such a nice warm atmosphere at an opening, everyone enjoyed it.

Her work sold, and importantly has continued to do so even without her personality to promote it. That has been important to us and it will be nice to look back one day and reflect
with pride that her first show was with us.
I know that she is going to make a name for herself and she will certainly be back here with us
in the future.
She has got to because she promised to buy me a 'pint' at my favourite pub.

To talk of Michelle is almost unfair because we had some beautiful work by some some
fantastic sculptors, some we have shown before and some who are new to us.
The result was an exciting exhibition that has been shown in a lot of the local press and has
people coming in daily, some "just to look" but many to purchase, and with everyone asking
"when will you do it again"?

I will show some pictures here, I still have many more to take but here is a sample for now.
As you can see they go from wild to domestic, fun to serious.
All of them beautiful, and there are still a few more to come from my best mate Sharon
who had to run a "little" late so she could give birth to a little boy.
On this occasion I will overlook the "late arrival".