Last night I had my first ever proper exhibition opening night at a place called The Hive, and in to my childhood self I had made it as a ‘proper’ artist.
Myself and the two other students on my course have had to co-organize and exhibit for our current assignment and last night we let the public in to see what we’ve been doing. I’m not going to talk too much about the various challenges and obstacles we’ve faced arranging this. Let’s just say I think that success at these things only comes from good project management (my thanks go to Oxford University Press for sending me on a three-day project management course circa 2002). For me good project management comes from the use of spreadsheets. I love spreadsheets. They aren’t very arty but they work. Without them my life would be (even more) chaotic.
The event went very smoothly (partly thanks to spreadsheets but mostly thanks to our hard work). We invited around 15 people each plus our college tutors and (optimistically) the press. I bought a new dress for the occasion and wore my favourite ‘going out’ boots (which got just as many complements as my paintings).
People mingled, nibbled, sipped and cooed in the right places. My childish dream to have an opening night with champagne and canapes had (almost) been fulfilled. The budget didn’t quite stretch as far as champagne and I’m not even sure where you get canapes from but we had posh wine and Home Bargains nibbles plus some donated olives (rather a lot of them it turns out) and home-made banana bread (which went down extremely well).
It was both nice and scary being a co-centre of attention. I felt a flutter in my stomach at seeing people watch my videos and examine my paintings. But I found answering questions challenging (e.g. Do you think your paintings would look different if you framed them? Of course!). I didn’t want to have to justify my artistic choices. I just wanted the guests to look at the pictures and take away their own responses. My aim was to give people something to think about and hopefully go away and look at the world, at least for a while, with Proustian eyes.
Hopefully it was the first of many ‘opening nights’. I’d like to think that my boots might wear out from over-use. I can but dream.