I have an embarrassment of riches in terms of shows on at the moment. I have Rocks and Flowers on at Beans Love Greens until 16th December, I have a picture in the Indo Christmas show on until 2nd January 2019, and I have five works in the Candid Galleries Christmas Fair. This ends at 6pm on 9th December so chances are it has already finished. If however you are reading this on the 9th, then hurry down there (details above) and you can see and maybe even buy one of my paintings.
I have done solo shows before, I have done group shows before, but this is what you might call my first seriously commercial show. Here there is a genuinely expectation of selling. The process is a little unnerving, or at least I found it so. I handed over my five paintings on Tuesday morning and then left. So the first time you see how they look is when it is open to the general public. I was gripped on the way there with a terrible anxiety that there would be some terrible mistake, my work would not be on display and I would look a prat. Of course it was there and above you can see me in front of my five pieces, with my wife who has a very unlikely job coaching here!
I had submitted 5 pieces, all of parts of the Regents Canal, a common obsession of mine. The one above left is of this strange lonely chimney that sits on the East bank of the Limehouse cut. It is therefore called The Chimney on the LImehouse Cut. Above right is this curved block of flats which had caught the light in a way that interested me. It is just called the Limehouse Cut.
The other three are pictured above and working from top to bottom are Warehouse on the Regents Canal, Gasholder on the Regents Canal and Bridge over the Limehouse Cut. The first two of these have in fact been exhibited before at a show I put on at the Hoxton Cabin. The last one is the most recent production. When they were all at home I thought Gasholder on the Regents Canal was the best, but as often happens put up in a different environment with different lighting they look very, well different. I know thing Bridge over the Limehouse Cut is the best one. It is more convincing.
And here they are all together, in amongst paintings by other people. I don't mind them being separated too much. What I thought was a bit odd was the two portrait orientated paintings being split up by a long thing painting by someone else, but also of the Regents Canal, or at least a very similar scene. Additionally this painting (which is pretty good by the way) had no label which led to some minor confusion with some people thinking it was by me.
A word then about the fair itself. It is over two floors. The ground floor has a number of stands selling jewelry, bags, ceramics, art and similar things. If you then ascend the frankly rickety stair case you get to the large first floor gallery where most of the art (including me is) see above. It is a good space, long and wide and if you were there during the day, large windows to fill it with light. I got there as the private view opened, at 17:00 and there were few people present but it slowly filled up. The anxiety I felt gave way to relief, which gave way to confusion as to what exactly I should do. Some of my competitors were hovering around near their art with labels identifying them attached to their person.
I opted instead for flitting around in a haphazard way, a time during which I firmly formed the view that I would not want to be manning a stall at such an event. Eventually I calmed down enough to enjoy watching people looking at my art (which is a nice sensation particularly if they stop for a long time in front of it) and also looking at my competitors. Some of them are good.
This large disturbing triptych (above) by Ioana Alexandra Baltan is a powerful piece of work. These pale desperate Goyaish figure stumbling against a distressed looking background is effecting. They are large pieces and at over a grand each I do wonder if they will sell. Even if they don't they are very good.
I suspect much more saleable, and indeed they appealed to me more, is the work of Yuet Yuen Teo who had at least 5 works on display that I saw including 4 of these Chinese style ink paintings. The above two where my favourites. They are simple and elegant and show a high degree of skill. Also at £450 each they are relatively affordable. I suspect she will see some.
That reminds me I had carefully planned my strategy for this show. I had been round it in previous years and last time almost everything was over £1000. I had therefore cunningly chosen my price point, of £400 each as coming in below this. This year though the price point was lower and although my work was among the cheaper many other people where priced similarly.
After a while people started arriving and people I knew turned up (not him I don't know him), including people from work. You show them your work and then, well then you babble like a fool. I need to work out some patter. After a couple of hours and with a couple of hours to go, I started to get hungry and decide to flee for some food. I did not return for two days, indeed I have not yet gone back, I go back this afternoon. I wonder if I will have sold anything. I do hope so.
William John Mackenzie
I am an artist with a specialism in landscapes and still life. My contact details are here.