Art Matters by Norman Holmes of @KayaGallery

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Over the past 5 years I have been collecting the work of artist J.J. Adams who was born in Plymouth but emigrated with his parents to Cape Town in the early eighties where he eventually worked as an apprentice in a tattoo studio, which he wanted to continue when he returned to the UK in the mid nineties.

After a number of years in London he came back to Plymouth to study at Plymouth College of Art and Design then later worked as a graphic designer before returning to London as his art began to take off. His work takes iconic figures such as James Dean and Monroe, or royalty such as Princess Diana and The Queen, and even Disney characters then repaints them as if they were tattooed. His work has become very collectable particularly as the limited edition print runs are often below 100.

Now, and this is not a shocking revelation, but I did get a couple of tattoos over 25 years ago when Mr. Beckham’s body was still probably a blank canvas, however it is now estimated that about 1 in 5 of the UK population has at least one tattoo and this figure rises to 1 in 3 for young adults.

Indeed no fashion statement of recent years can rival tattoos for their effect and amazing variety. The growth in their popularity has led to the opening of tattoo parlours on every high street and to mark the phenomenon Cornwall’s Maritime museum in Falmouth is staging a major exhibition running from 17th March for all of 2017. I’m really looking forward to visiting as it will be featuring the work of leading tattoo artists as well as original artwork and artefacts.

Also coming up I’m looking forward to travel photographer Suzy Bennett’s exhibition at the Riverside gallery at Bovey Tracey on till 3rd April showing some revealing portraits of local artisans, and on at the excellent Brownston gallery in Modbury from 17th March to 17th April is the South West Academy annual exhibition.

Also from 3rd to 22nd April the Mayne gallery in Kingsbridge is showcasing the six finalists in the recent Devon Life landscape painter of the year competition including the winner James Tatum.

Finally congratulations to Plymouth portrait artist Jo Beer who recently featured as one of the finalists on the Sky Arts programme ‘Portrait Artist of the Year’. It’s worth investing in her work now as her star is likely to rise in the future as it did for J.J. Adams.


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