Saturday, 2 March 2013

Stian Andersen A-ha The Photographs exhibition

I was recently invited to take my portfolio to show the gallerist at The Strand gallery in London, as I thought it might be nice to go and see Stian Andersen's photography exhibition.
The outcome is some exciting work coming up soon, but as I'm totally shattered, here are a few photos
Stian's exhibition is currently showing until 17th March.

I couldn't stay over in London mid week, so I planned to arrive slightly early on, and get the last train back to Lincoln after the private view. I knew that during the private view itself, I would not have an opportunity to discuss work properly, and I wouldn't have time to hang around afterwards.

I arrived around 4.40p.m. whilst waiting outside, I saw Stian's photographer, taking shots of the gallery, and Erin Hill's husband Mike, but I knew neither of them at that moment, as I hadn't been introduced. Once invited inside, I met the gallery staff, and the lovely and talented Erin, was properly introduced to Mike, as well as two nice ladies from the Norwegian Embassy, who are sponsoring Stian's exhibition.
I told them about my previous exploits in Oslo, and later on, they were looking at Stian's prints to decide which ones to buy.

We were expecting Stian and Magne to arrive at 5.30p.m. but they were being rock and roll late, and while we were waiting, it was nice to have a proper look at the work before the gallery was full of (mostly A-ha fans) visitors.
I was discussing what I do with Erin, it seems we have a lot of common interests, including Fleetwood Mac, and Erin was kind enough to play Gypsy on her harp for me, which was very lovely.
One of the nicest comments she said was that I remind her of Lauren Savoy, a compliment indeed :-) Somewhere there's a photo of us together, but it hasn't yet materialised.

The gallery opened to the waiting crowd outside, as Stian and Magne arrived and were due to go for an interview. I realised I'd left my camera in the office, so I went to get it, but as I'd been so busy chatting all afternoon, by now I was gasping for a beer, and followed them out to go and get one. 
Magne asked me what the setlist was, and by then I'd forgotten in my beer-hunt. I don't know many of Erin's songs. She performed with A-ha at the Royal Albert Hall in 2008, which I missed because it clashed with my degree show!

I stood close behind Stian and Magne as we watched her performance of And You Tell Me. The gallery is quite small, and there were a lot of people, the view of Erin very limited at one end, and because I'm small, it's a habit I've had since I was little, that Mum would always encourage me to go to the front so that I could see, and I was wearing flat boots for travelling/not getting stuck in the Tube, but hadn't thought to bring some heels for height.
I was getting a bit squashed in, trying hard not to spill beer down Stian's trouser leg - it really wouldn't be a good look for him! But wasn't quite of the Razorlight-at-V-festival2006-potential-crush-panic-level, and I was taken aside whilst we contemplated how Erin was going to get out of the corner! 
Along with Erin's performance, A-ha tracks were played in the background of the gallery. 

I was obviously quite keen to be properly introduced to Stian and speak to him properly as had been recommended for work purposes, however, he quite often was grabbed by overly eager fans asking for things to be signed, or buying copies of his book, so eager they were, some seem to forget their manners that someone was already there. 
The gallery was so busy that Magne bailed out early. I don't really blame him. He was meant to be there for an hour, they were both late for their interview, and Magne missed out on his speech.
In one attempt to speak to him, I seemed to get caught up in some photo taking, despite the fact that earlier, The Lady Of Shalott had taken one look at Stian's incredible photos and decided to go on strike! 
I managed to get a few nice photos, although I lament not getting one with Stian's photographer, Erik, who was very tall, and would've made a funny shot. Maybe next time..... ;-)
Yes, plans are afoot.

Paul Stolper was there as well, and I lamented that I had hoped to drop into his gallery, but hadn't had the time. He has some interesting projects going on, and I will consider going for Magne's next private view there in May.
And I met Stian's Dad and step-Mum, and managed to say "hyggelig å møte deg", which for the uninitiated is "nice to meet you" in Norwegian, without sounding Welsh, and was understood!

It wasn't until I was about to leave that I later found an opportunity to be properly introduced to Stian, and we agreed to catch up via email about work. I gave him my card and grabbed a spare copy of the comic from my portfolio. I'd brought a copy for him, should he want one, but now didn't really have time to ask, so there it was. Stuff you do in haste. Which reminds me, a copy I sent for Towser Zine Library last year is due to go to Leeds International Book Fair this month.

It's odd how I've been trying to develop my practice in other ways, but whenever I do something involving A-ha, I get more and better opportunities than all the wasted applications to more local galleries, all the proposals that I've sent that never get off the ground, funding applications that have been rejected, for once, things always go right, so I'm not going to turn such opportunities down. 
I feel I finally seem to be getting somewhere, so I've been over-excited and over-tired and a bit scatterbrained for a few days. 

Otherwise, I spent the previous week finishing and submitting a couple of proposals. One for a commission for a piece of street art at the bottom of The Strait, here in Lincoln, which I based on a Horrible Histories legend that is located in that particular part of the city. I am now waiting for the deadline to pass and see if it's successful, and not some poorly-conceived idea with a fleur de lis on it, or the Lincolnshire flag, which I saw passed around at the conference I went to previously.

Meanwhile, I've also been distracted by this

Jim'll Paint It was tweeted by Bob Mortimer, so I suspect it's Vic Reeves, and has had me in tears of laughter whenever it's updated.