The Cracktown Tour Diaries; Week 3 – Part 2 “The Show Begins”

9th February 2009

Sitting cross-legged for 60 minutes next to a well-dressed man, who’s wearing a gas-mask and black gloves, was not how I originally planned my first morning of the exhibition, but the EDP photographer wanted it, so…

Not many people ventured out to the show before the opening event at 6pm (I’d forgotten that I still had the closed sign up at the entrance until, ooh, 5.50pm), but I was still feeling fatigued by that time, nonetheless. There was still a quantity of Red Wine left in the gallery kitchen, so I polished off another six glasses by mid-afternoon. Felt queasy at that point (not nervous at all, oddly), and the bright lights of the gallery were prickling the nausea.

Best pull my ramshackle self together and get prepared…

Come kick-off time, however, I was still wrist deep in sushi and other colourful nibbles for the spread, and I hadn’t even performed my wardrobe change yet. From 6pm to 8pm (actually more like 9.20pm), a steady stream of curious fellows entered the gallery and the feedback from them all was, well, astounding. Everyone very positive, more so than people usually are at private viewings I’d suggest, so that was really fantastic.

As a surprise to the visitors, the Cracktown character of Florian came to life and helped entertain the visitors, walking round with trays of wine & absinthe in the aforementioned gas mask, gloves and tie to either relax people more, or put them on edge – I couldn’t make up my mind which. All I wanted from Florian’s character was humble elegance, and that’s what he gave; a humble elegance (sincere thanks to J).

Siobhan, my Significant Other, was a true life-saver organising the drinks and food throughout the whole hectic night (having cooked most of it just a couple of hours earlier) and, seriously, loads of people came along for the ride (much more than I anticipated or prepared for), all bouncing from one work to the next in a steady line. I expected around a dozen people to turn up on that cold winter night, truth be told, but an easy 80+ fine individuals ventured out of their warm homes to come and see my little show.

A fairly exhausting session of absinthe-enhanced artchat later and, after a brief sojourn to the Globe Hotel for late drinks with a few friends, I managed to heave myself home to gently snooze off the day, slumped in my sofa like a common, besuited drunkard (in the process leaving my oven on most of the night to cremate a tray of chips – plumes of smoke billowing into the living room – not wise).

Oh, and I sold two works on the night – one high-profile work (‘Synaesthesia’), and the end-of-gallery vertical triptych (‘Restroom Trilogy’). That was astounding. As Bacon said, “I never thought I’d sell”.

For my first solo show preview night I don’t think it could have gone any better at all. Manic most times, yes, and the gallery too bustling to be able to speak to everyone for any length of time, but a fantastic start to the tour nonetheless.

My heartfelt thanks to you all for the kind support and time you gave up for me and my bleak wares on that cold, dark and miserable Monday evening.

I’ll hopefully see you again real soon.


p.s. if you’d like to visit the gallery again, for a closer/quieter inspection of the work, the Cracktown v1.0 Tour 2009 will remain at Greyfriars Art Space until close of play Saturday 21st February, Mon-Sat, 9.30am-5.30pm, before the tour moves on to Cambridge in April (more details to follow shortly).