Updated: May 26, 2019
So I thought deep and hard 'is this going to work?
..and the answer came to me, if you don't try you will never know. All the planning in the world wouldn't be 'reality', it would just be an educated opinion on the success rate probabilities.
So I thought 'F*ck it, I'm going to do it!'
People called me brave and courageous, but really I'm just a bit mad. I had faith in the good Lord to see me through and knew that if people wanted this to happen for Macclesfield and the artists, 'they' would help me through.
A guy from Manchester now living in Buxton came in by the name of Craig Seel and asked if he could hang his work, I agreed, and I had a few more paintings. Unfortunately, none of his sold but at least it gave him some exposure and it helped me show a greater range of work.
It took weeks to migrate all my stuff from the upstairs studio to the gallery while still 'juggling plates' to keep my animation business going. I still, to this day, haven't moved everything. I started to fall behind in the mortgage :(
The main computer I used crashed and died... I replaced the operating system 3 times and still no go!. I switched the operating system from windows to Ubuntu and it crashed and crashed and crashed. I prayed really hard and then everything began to work...
I was really behind on everything by now but I WOULD NOT give up!... I couldn't , I just couldn't...
I prayed almost continually and it got me through. I received good will from many visitors and it got me through. I had help and advice from many artists and it got me through.
I was also in a bad state of health. I didn't know what was wrong with me. I had these horrible pains just below my ribs on the right hand side. I spent about 6 months going to the doctors and to the hospital for tests. I had previously been rushed into A&E, I felt like I was dying. When I got there they set up an emergency operation for me, which luckily didn't happen. I had something wrong in my lower torso, It felt like I had a bubble just under my ribs on the right hand side. I was loosing consciousness and all my energy was fading. They thought it was a burst stomach ulcer, then pancreatitis, then something else and something else and so on... The GREAT guys at the NHS helped me. It continued for a while. I had numerous blood tests, X Rays, Camera down my throat into my stomach etc, you name it, I had it...They couldn't find anything and discharged me in the end. I decided 'I' would make myself better, so I prayed and I started to feel better slowly. I'm still not totally healthy but I can cope.
One dark rainy day the door to the gallery opened and a figure dressed in a hoody came in carrying some painted canvases dripping wet through. I was in the back of the gallery and he approached slowly with his head humbly to the floor. I was photographing new art and crouched down. As I lifted my head to view this stranger he slowly arched his face upwards slightly to speak to me, very hesitantly he said, 'I'm an artist, do you think I might be able to show my work here?'
He then presented me with some quite large paintings with which my first reaction was 'Wow'. I saw that the rain had battered the art and it was starting to bubble, so I grabbed some kitchen roll and handed him a piece. I took a piece too and we both started to save his beautiful artwork.
'What's your name' I asked.
'Alex' he replied 'Alex Beaumont'
As we gently saved the paintings we began to talk. What was at first a very nervous young man became more confident as we chatted. We became friends almost immediately which is a very rare thing for me nowadays. We learned a lot about each other in a short space of time and I think we both found that although we had different lives, our outlook and understanding of the world was similar.
I remember going into a shop with my artwork for the first time and it is a VERY hard thing to do. Luckily the shop I picked was 'No Place Like Home' on Mill Street and the lovely 'Heather' greeted me very kindly and saw I was nervous and calmed me. I remember presenting a leopard picture to her and I felt much more confident when her eyes lit up after seeing my work. The leopard didn't sell for quite a while but I remember bringing her an image of 2 giraffes which sold very quickly and that gave her confidence to display more of my work.
I hung Alex's work and I sold one the next week. He was grateful for this because he had no money and was struggling to make ends meet. He offered me some food from his collection from the food-bank to pay me in thanks, so I took a can of soup. I took this because I liked the soup, he said he wouldn't have eaten it anyway and it was a kind of 'deal' between us. Obviously I had a 20% commission on the price of sale too (I have HUGE bills to pay )....
He took the money from the sale and bought more art supplies to create more pieces to display in the gallery...
He has sold quite a few so far. We are very good friends now. I asked more 'well off' artists to please donate any art materials they had to the gallery so that I could pass them to struggling artists like Alex, and lots of good people did. ( Samantha Oates, Jenny E, Trevor Bailey, Trish Trodden, Stephanie Bradley etc)
I thank everyone involved, united we stand....
Part 3 coming soon....