Header image: “Beecroft Disco” (detail) by Tim Severwright
A chance visit to Southend’s Beecroft Gallery in June to see the Ian Dury-inspired exhibition All Kinds of Naughty, and a subsequent conversation with the gallery’s curator Kevin, led to an invitation to contribute some artwork for their upcoming Lockdown Open exhibition.
Just over twenty-one years ago, I had a piece in another Beecroft exhibition at their old location (in Station Road) celebrating 100 years of the Southend School of Art (as I was a former student some twenty-one years or so before that). So I couldn’t resist the beautiful symmetry of submitting something for their current show.
Back in March 2000, an original gouache painting used for the cover of Strangehaven: Arcadia was selected for display from three pieces that I had submitted. The show also featured work from many other former students and lecturers, including my old mentors Bob Knee and Peter Knock.
The current show boasts over fifty artworks, impressively high in quality, especially considering that it’s an open submission exhibition. Here are a few of my favourite pieces:
The show also features a gorgeous piece of embroidery by my resident critical motivator and girlfriend GeenGeenie, and my contribution, a one-off Giclee of a page from Strangehaven: Destiny that I had been working on during the initial lockdown in 2020.
The Lockdown Open exhibition at the Beecroft Gallery opened on 26th June and runs to 14th August 2021. Entry is free.
The Beecroft’s website is here. You can follow them on Instagram at @beecroftartgallery.
The day was nicely concluded by a visit to the studio of extraordinary local Southend artist Simon Monk who we bumped into at the closing performance at the Ian Dury exhibition a month earlier. I first met Simon after he invited me to speak at art organisation Metal’s residential culture LAB, Inkhead in 2018. You read about that event here.
Simon’s trompe l’oeil works are as eye-poppingly convincing in real life as they are in photographs and we had fun admiring his projects old and new. Multiple quantities of white tea and pink cupcakes were consumed, as GeenGeenie and I bonded with Simon over art, comics, and cult film, outstaying our welcome by several hours. You can follow Simon on Instagram at @simonmonkstudio and visit his website here.