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  • Writer's pictureBen Fearnside

Exhibition Success in Brighton Fringe

My Metal on Canvas at Gallery 40 for the Brighton Fringe had a very successful fortnight. There were sales and commissions, and we raised £700 for The Sussex Beacon. Here are the highlights.

Jolly guests at Ben Fearnside exhibition preview
'Hayward's Heath'
Guests at Metal On Canvas preview sample chocolates

The exhibition kicked off with a busy private preview, Everyone invited braved rain and rail to chomp artisan chocolates from Gilchrist of Plumpton, quaff and talk art.

We also launched the charity auction, and it turns out our winning bid was placed that night.

Metal on Canvas listed in The Guardian Guide

We were featured in The Guardian Guide exhibition pick for BOTH weeks. OK, some of the details in the listing weren't quite accurate, but it got the word around town and beyond. Local press were great with listings too.

Seven paintings were sold and are off to new homes in London, Brighton and Hove. 'Spanish Kettle' is going to Barcelona. 'Korolev' and 'Sputnik' were sold as a pair and will be living together.

Expansion 1 a black, copper and gold abstract

'Expansion 1' actually sold twice, with a near-copy commissioned. Frank my owly salvage-creation mascot also attended the exhibition (not for sale, friends can't be bought) and has prompted a sculpture commission.

Expansion 1

There was actually a squabble over who was going to buy 'Drowned World', a smaller painting with a big punch.

Drowned World

The charity painting auction ran all fortnight for 'Containment 12'. The sealed envelopes were opened on Sunday 13th with live streaming to Facebook (we're so high-tech!) The winning bid was £500, beating the next highest by just £3. The winner was so delighted they pledged a further £100, so with money in collection tin, we raised a grand total of £735.97 for The Sussex Beacon.

Jason Warriner and artist Ben Fearnside

But last and not least, the support and feedback was fantastic. The most repeated comment was that the paintings are unique: no one else out there is doing anything similar. People loved the colours and finishes on the Containment paintings, but also the organic simplicity of the cracks.

The mechanisation paintings were more controversial. Some people really related to them (spot the crowded train in 'Haywards Heath'), but others found them a bit mystifying.

It was fascinating talking to collectors, fellow artists, Art Trailers, art students and people new to abstract, and fun watching double-takes as people walked by the windows. The North Laines traders were lovely and welcomed us into their community. My local friends were also fantastic, turning up with cheer, buns and cups of tea, walking the dogs and minding the gallery while I took a break. THANK YOU TO YOU ALL!

On the last weekend I was pretty exhausted by all this socialising, so faithful Ratty and Beckett came along and helped out. Ratty in particular is an excellent sales rep, standing on the doorstep wagging.

I'm now slightly overwhelmed, with a very full brain and keen to get back into my studio where I belong, and make more!


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