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What, I’ve won???

I very rarely enter competitions, prize draws or suchlike because I am eternally cynical and pessimistic and never expect to win anything.

Maria BeadellI’m the one who declines entering the office euro championships sweepstake in favour of a fancy latte because at least with the latter option you’re guaranteed something for your hard earned pound(!). But lately, as part of a summer self-imposed ‘improvement’ programme, I’ve decided to ‘take more risks’. One of these was booking a pitch at the Urban Art Fair despite having never done anything similar before; and the other was entering the Time and Leisure blogger draw. So when I discovered that I’d been selected to write the weekly blog for Urban Art fair, I was pretty taken aback and excited. EVERYTHING about this experience is new to me. I’ve never attempted to sell my work at an Art fair, and I’ve never been published in a major magazine. I’m both incredibly excited and petrified at the same time. The new risk-taking Maria is on a roll…

So what am I all about? Well I’m predominantly a portrait painter, (although I've recently developed a taste for mural painting, but that’s another blogpost) I work in oils, and I use everything and anything as my canvas from traditional stretched canvases to board to dinner plates to wine box lids. I’m fascinated by people and like my paintings to feature a central figure/figures with a humorous or surreal twist. Those twists could be dark and macabre (I’m a huge fan of horror films) or fantastical – I like to paint chimeras and animal/human hybrids. At The Urban Art fair I’m really excited to be displaying some of these paintings!

I do also love conveying humour through my work as I feel a lot of art can be a little serious and earnest at times. It’s always good to have a laugh! So in line with that, I’ve been working on a new series of paintings that I’m aiming to debut at the Fair. Inspired by a recent commission to paint a pin- up girl meets Disney character for a friend; I decided to embark on a series of paintings of Disney characters morphed with classic American 40’s and 50’s pin-ups a la Playboy and Alberto Vargas. The first is a reproduction of the Bambi commission, painted in oils on balsa wood I found lying around the house (!). It’s a tongue-in-cheek mash-up of classic imagery of the American ‘Golden Age’ – a contrast between the sanitised cutesy Disney cartoons and the sexy ‘all-American’ pin ups. It’s a bit Bansky; a bit disquieting. I’ve also reinvented Dumbo and Mickey Mouse, but I’ll talk about them in my next blogpost.

Now I’ve got to figure out how the hell to hang my works at the Fair, so the next few weeks will mostly be spent hanging out at DIY shops…ah the glamorous life of an artist! Catch me next week for the next instalment...

Maria Beadell is a figurative oil painter based in South London. She paints portraits with a surreal, humourous or sexy twist, and will be exhibiting at Stand 23Hd at the Urban Art Fair.

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