Hanging with the Stars

Monday March 2nd marked the first day of my art exhibition at the Apthorp Gallery in the Radlett Centre, Hertfordshire. The show is entitled “Jessica Martin’s Picture Palace” because the theme is my lifelong passion… the golden age of Hollywood.

'Jessica Martin's Picture Palace' Art Exhibition
I’d been posting up portraits of my favourite film stars in various media for the past year (for my own pleasure… since my primary focus has been doing my graphic novel). I’d been sharing them on Facebook, which caught the attention of Greg Dexter, general manager of the Radlett Centre. He suggested to me that I might like to have my own exhibition at the venue. This is a year ago and I can hardly believe how quickly it’s come round.
I made the decision to use artwork I’d made already with a few surprises for the exhibition.
Time more than anything was the chief constraint. The best way to present my work, which has a pop art feel to it, was to reproduce them as digital canvas prints and sell them as a limited edition run.
My business partner Bob spent a good few hours hanging the sixteen canvases in the Apthorp Gallery… making a picture of the pictures. The spaces between the art were as important as the work itself. We grouped according to size and style and made sure we had price lists and names framed and visible on the walls too.
Small catalogues with thumbnails of the artwork were laid out for people to pick up along with flyers for my book “Elsie Harris Picture Palace” and a spiral bound Visitor’s Book with a pen attached for people to write comments.

The big night was Thursday March 12th when I had my private viewing night. I had three more canvases and a giant portrait to unveil on the night. Although things had not gone according to plan… those canvases did not arrive in time for the viewing so I had my contingency plan in place. I opted for having paper prints run up and framed and my giant canvas was a print mounted on poster board. Thank you Minuteman Press! The ‘star’ piece was my own immersive artwork… a portrait of Errol Flynn as Robin Hood and me as Maid Marian.
A whole new spin on the Selfie!

I was nervous as to who and how many people would show up to the event, as it is out of town though by no means inaccessible.
I was delighted to greet a steady influx of guests throughout the evening, which meant my next worry was… would we have enough food? But Georgie’s Cafe/Bar at the Radlett Centre delivered great refreshments.
It was really satisfying to see a good mix of friends, family, colleagues from the world of theatre and comics together. Lovely things were said (and recorded in the Visitor’s Book). I made my first sale to my actor/writer friend Julian Dutton who was taken with my Mucha style portrait of Gabrielle Ray, a Gaiety Girl from the 19th Century. (One of my few non-movie star pictures). I had interest from another gallery in exhibiting my work there and also sold a lot of my “It Girl” and “Vivacity” comics.

The exhibition is on till the end of March and now that I have dipped my toes in the waters of the art world I don’t think there’ll be any turning back. Please go and have a look if you’re in the area… I’d be happy to show you round if you let me know.

Next blog will be about my fab weekend at the London Super Comic Con.

About Jessica

Jessica Martin is a multi-talented performer whose career has taken her from comedy impressionist to musical theatre leading lady and scriptwriter.
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