I’m back in love. Yay! No, this isn’t some sickly pre Valentines Day post where I’m plugging my wares to all those lovers young and old. (Although prints, t-shirts and painting make wonderful gifts 😉 ) Sadly, and completely not of my choosing, I will be very much single this year. Cue violins. Anyway, When I say I’m in Love, I mean the Love Cafe in St Leonards on Sea. Not to be confused with Japan’s Love hotels, which are, erm, a very different kettle of sushi.
My relationship with this place started when the original owners Rosie and Ed bought a teddy bear I made from me some 8 or so years ago. It was a Viking bear I believe Sven? Eric? Something like that. It was not that long after that I got a call from Ed, He was taking over and old print works and turning it into an art gallery / craft market and was looking people who made really nice stuff to show their wares. When I did put some bears in, I cagily took down a folio of paintings. I thought they’d hate them, most people did back then, but no. They loved them!
So I put some paintings in and I even sold one. Then, as a lot of things do in St Leonards, plans changed and it became The Love Cafe. I was going through a bad patch a little later and I really needed to get some focus and direction into my life. I decided to commit myself to a serious task and that was to produce a version of William Hogarth’s A Rake’s Progress as both painting and etchings (well, biro drawings to be exact). I’ve found it’s so much easier in life to let one’s self down than it is other people. Personal goals can slide by and we look up and we are years older and “that thing” never got done. So I took a deep breath (and and NHS confidence building workshop) and I went and asked Ed if he would let me put up A Rake’s Progress and I even got him to book a date. There we go! I would be letting someone else down then, I had to do it. It went quite well and I even did a version in booklet form including the story in 18th Century pros. I even got it in the Soane’s Museum after that( The booklet, not the drawings sadly). When I had my first solo gallery show it was Ed and Rosie who bought enough of my paintings to cover my costs. I would often have a painting or two on display in their cafe though. It’s a loyalty thing. By the time they sold up and moved on I was starting to do more high profile shows, such as the one in the prestigious Towner Gallery in Eastbourne but I took time out at the end of last year to do a photographic face through for them at their new venue in Hastings’ Observer Building. Then came an interesting email via one of my agents. The new owners of The Love Cafe were wondering if I would put some work in there. I was a little wary at first, wondering if it would be a backwards step, going from the Towner and solo shows to having work in a cafe. Then I met them and the new owners Sharon and Colin were lovely. Plus I got bribed by the loveliest hot chocolate, with little pink and white marshmallows floating in it and I was sold. There was one condition though, I wanted to absolutely cover the place. Complete Dweebling takeover. It’s lovely to cover a large space, the scary thing is though, I could have done it three times over. I do hope people actually buy a few paintings or else I may need to invest in a lock up.
You can see the work and have some fabulous food and drinkies and the Love Cafe, Norman road, St Leonards on Sea from now to the beginning of May. Further details Here.