Art Matters with @KayaGallery Norman Holmes

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Image: Jackie Gale

As part of the Dartmouth Galleries festival last month they ran a ‘Free Art Friday’ when pieces of art work were placed around the town for visitors to find and take home.

As it happens, apart from a crumpled up crisp packet I found on a bench which might have been an entrant for the Turner prize, I was unlucky not to have found anything, but nevertheless what a great to encourage visitors to the town and their art festival. It’s an idea Plymouth would do well to copy.

And yes I know this is the Christmas edition and you’ve been bombarded with gift ideas, but I would sound a note of caution when buying art for a friend or relative as, like juggling with chain saws it has the potential for disaster. In truth to choose a piece of art as a gift is a really nice thing to do but it’s a minefield to get it right.

Firstly you have to remember you’re not buying for yourself and whilst you may love the naive style of say a Brian Pollard or the humour of a Beryl Cook it may not be to the taste of the recipient. You probably need therefore to do your homework in advance which may involve collusion with their partner, but better this than seeing your gift assigned to the downstairs toilet or worse still left under the bed never to be seen.

Thankfully most gallery owners understand how difficult it is to choose for someone else and will happily give you your money back or at least a voucher to spend on something else.

Over the coming weeks of course there will be many Christmas art and craft fairs at which you may have to just bite the bullet and go with your instinct but at least you will be safe in the knowledge that you are supporting an independent artist.

As well as the many Christmas Fairs, I would encourage you to check out Jo Beer’s amazing exhibition ‘Fleshy’ on throughout November at the Theatre Royal, and on until 19th November is a fascinating exhibition at the Peninsula Arts Gallery showcasing work by Turner prizewinning contemporary artist Douglas Gordon under the title of ‘Searching for Genius’. There’s also an interesting exhibition at the Devonport Guildhall throughout November with work from over 15 local artists.

Finally, still on the trail of Christmas gifts, it is worth visiting Southside Street on Plymouth’s historic Barbican where Mayflower Gallery has the 2017 Beryl Cook calendars, Glass!! has some new stunning glass pieces from Ian Nicholls, Mathias in 45 Southside has sourced some beautiful new ceramics, Blue Peace has a range of beautiful handmade soaps, What Not Wood has an extensive range of personalised gifts, Vicky Sewart exhibits the very best in handmade jewellery and Kaya Gallery has the very latest originals and prints from Jackie Gale and Brian Pollard alongside other galleries and other fabulous places to stop for a mince pie and coffee.

Enjoy Christmas and when you can, do support local artists.

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