Things To Do in Barnes, Battersea, Cheam, Clapham, Epsom, Fulham, Kingston, Putney, Surbiton, Sutton, Wandsworth, Wimbledon

That’s all folks! (No really, it is this time)…

You may be be wondering why you’re reading this, after I bid you all farewell and dramatically presented the last installment as my final post last week.

Maria BeadellWell, following an online petition and street demonstrations from my loyal fan and followers, I bowed to pressure and decided to come out for a final curtain call. Well, not exactly. I thought a post-Fair blogpost to sum up my experience and let you all know how it went might be fun. So here goes…

And then it was all over. Exhale. After weeks of preparation and pre-fair angst, my debut appearance at The Urban Art Fair came and went before you could say ‘Van Gogh’. My emotions transport me back to my 15 year old self circa 1997, cramming for GCSE’s; the fretting pre-exam day, and the extraordinary relief as well as slightly odd anti-climactic sensation once it was done and dusted. What will I worry and obsess about now??!! But overall, my feeling is one of satisfaction and pride at having successfully pulled off my first art fair. It was a great day all round, the atmosphere was buzzing, I met some fantastic people; artists and visitors alike, and to top it all off the Weather Gods were obliging! What more could you ask for?! (Particularly of the last point- a veritable miracle, no less!)

Perhaps the best part of the day was chatting to visitors and collecting weird and wonderful stories. One of the best tales I heard was from a lady who told me that my work reminded her of another artist’s work, which she described in detail and had me in fits of hysterics. She told me about an anonymous guerrilla artist who modifies objets d’art found in charity shops in sleepy seaside towns into amusing or controversial pieces (i.e. a porcelain pig might get a pair of suspenders or a bulging appendage). She then returns them to the charity shop that she got them from! I can just imagine the reaction from the little old ladies who find them in the donation bags….

My display did seem to evolve into a talking piece throughout the day, which was fantastic and exactly what I’d intended. People would stop in their tracks, look at the strange mish-mash of fantasy meets soft-porn meets horror on display, and reactions would vary from laughter to gasps of shock to knowing smiles. Mothers would frantically try to shield young children’s eyes away from Bambi’s exposed derriere and Dumbo’s impressive bosom, to the point where I did consider putting an ‘X-rated’ or ‘Contains images of an adult nature’ sign on my pitch. But most importantly, people scrutinized the paintings and talked or asked about them. What inspired me to paint them? What do they mean? I’ve always aimed for my work to be thought provoking rather than just ‘pretty to look at’, so it was fantastic that there was so much interest.

One of the stars of the show was Jessie, a local character I painted. My painting of her ‘The Clapham Venus’ was instantly recognizable to visitors, and a great conversation starter. I was kept entertained all day with stories of various encounters with eccentric Jessie, riding her bike around Clapham and Brixton in revealing outfits. I probably now have enough material to write a book!

This is all well and good, I hear you say, but where are the tales of humorous and embarrassing calamities? It’s the things that went wrong that we want to read about, not positivity! Where do you think we are? America? Well, dear readers, let me assure you that I had two major mishaps during the day. Firstly, I arrived in the morning to discover that the pitch I had been practising artwork hanging trial-runs over the past few weeks was in fact not my pitch at all. Alas, I had mis-read the map and got the wrong side of the road. Luckily in my wisdom I had arrived early enough to not be seen by anyone rapidly untying the various bits of wire and string I had attached to that pitch in preparation, and transferring them across the road before the real owner of the pitch arrived. Map reading was never a forte.

The second major mishap of the day was realising, upon unpacking my artwork, that id forgotten to bring a piece I’d done recently for a pub commission. Fortunately this didn’t affect the display too badly though.

But despite these little slip-ups, the day went relatively smoothly and I was delighted to be able to display and promote my work. I owe special thanks to my Artist friend and guru Morganico for his help and support both in the run up to and during the Fair; and to Time and Leisure’s own Michelle Morgan for publishing these blogs and popping down to see me and lend words of encouragement – it was great to see her there!

I’ve definitely learned a huge amount for next time, particularly concerning the types of work to suit the crowd (!) and hanging the work effectively. But most of all,

I’ve learned to plough ahead despite the fear. It’s always worth it!

So, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these posts, and in the words of Arnie, “I’ll be back…” at the Fair next year. If you can’t wait that long to be updated on the latest in my world (you’re only human) you can follow me (Mariainpaint) on Instagram, Facebook or check out my website below.

Until next time…

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.

Visit the website