Opportunity Knocks

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I will be the first to admit that I am a terrible artist. Perhaps not in terms of skill and ability but in terms of professionalism.

What follows is a message about getting yourself to exhibitions and the opportunities that could be passed up should you fail to do so.

Local exhibitions in small venues are just as important to attend as those hosted in large, national galleries; I recently attended the opening night of “We are who we are” at Bankley Studios in Levenshulme, Manchester. The exhibition showcased the work of  Samantha Mayo, Laura Daniels, Cecily Shrimpton. Farhaana Katun, Hannah Connor, Danielle Harrison and Olivia Brittain exploring the themes surrounding feminine social concerns, stemming from a range of female perspectives.

Firstly, the exhibition. The work gelled well within its surroundings and having seen some of it previously in another show I feel that it worked better in this environment. The environment in question, an old industrial building, provides an intimidating sight as you approach it, followed by a steep climb up a cold and narrow staircase. Having ventured this far little changes in the gallery space itself; the space is the same familiar white walls that we are used to but, perhaps because it is painted brick, the coldness seems to radiate throughout and seep into the work – adding new layers to the work. The atmosphere seems to radiate within the work, the comforts of our everyday lives seemingly removed; we are cleansed of our physical comfort and daily ignorance upon our journey to the gallery space through the front door and shown the world in a different light – a female perspective. This world is also cold and appears to lack a warm, human touch – a world in need of fixing.

Secondly, the opportunity. Going to see local exhibitions, studio open days and preview nights is a fantastic way to support your local artists – also, if you are an avid wine enthusiast this is also a good opportunity to partake in some sampling of the “refreshments”!

Local exhibitions and galleries are exceptionally good places to find leaflets and flyers for other galleries; perhaps you’ll find something to cure that “artist’s block” or perhaps, like me, you’ll find a leaflet containing those magic words “Call for Artist’s”. Many galleries put out a call for artist’s to submit work into an ‘open’ exhibition. This is usually a showcasing of many local artist’s with no real theme to what work is selected. You will be expected to frame and label your work according to the individual galleries taste and then take your work to the gallery where it will be judged on its worthiness for inclusion within the exhibition.

Bearing in mind I had picked up this leaflet (for Chapel Gallery, Ormskirk) on the 1st of July and the final day to submit your artwork (in person) was July 2nd, I was cutting it very fine! Luckily I already had two artworks labelled and ready to go from a previous (and unsuccessful) submission into an open exhibition. Galleries will often charge the artist per entry into such exhibitions and the fee (in my experience) is reasonable. It is often worth looking out for discounts on entry – this could apply to multiple entries, student/senior categories etc. It is also worth noting that you must be able to get to and from the gallery to submit and collect your work – these events can often be within days of each other.

By the 5th July I was notified that one of my two entries were successful, not bad at all for a lazy artist! To think that it had been less than five days since I was even made aware of the call for submissions. I am truly humbled to have been selected to have my work included and had it not been for my local artist’s I would never have had this opportunity.

Now, my work is hung on the walls of Chapel Gallery awaiting the preview night (Friday 15th July 7pm-9:30pm).

Supporting your fellow local artist’s is also beneficial for you too!

Larry

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