Arundel artist Andy Waite believes he can safely say he is the only artist who has taken part in every single Arundel Gallery Trail so far.
No mean feat – especially as the trail celebrates its 30th year this year.
Andy’s latest show runs until August 27 at his home at 54 Tarrant Street, Arundel when he will be joined by Jenny Murrell and Maria-Aurelia Riese. Jenny will be showing ceramics in the kitchen; Maria-Aurelia will be showing photography in the garden room.
“The gallery trail was really the idea of Ann Sutton who got together with friends to put the whole thing together back in 1989,” Andy said. “It was her intention to try to get 50 artists, and she knew quite a few and asked me. I thought it would be nice to join in. I was doing more graphic design and sign-writing at the time, but I wanted to keep up with my drawing which I was not doing professionally. So I decided to do something different, fruit and flowers and all very colourful. I thought I would just give it a go, and the first year brought a degree of success. I found that I had sold a handful of paintings, and the following year it got better. By the third year, it had taken off so much that I was able to stop doing my freelance graphic design and sign-writing and could really concentrate on the trail. The gallery trail was a springboard for my whole career. I am really grateful to the trail. Graphic design was my training and I had got into sign-writing accidentally, but it didn’t really stimulate me. It was just something that I could do. But being able to paint gave me the freedom to do what I really wanted to do. I am extremely fortunate and still can’t quite believe that this is my job. It is more a passion and a vocation.
“My work is now largely semi-abstract landscape, but within that it has been changing. I stopped doing the watercolours around the turn of the century because they were just not challenging me anymore. It is important to be challenged. You have got to push yourself. You meet a certain level of success and you could just continue from there, but it is important to be evolving as an artist. It feels that you have more integrity.
Andy is adding another dimension to it all this year with an evening of music, word and art under the title Poetry, Paintings and Prosecco as part of this year’s South Downs Poetry Festival on Friday, August 24 at 7.30pm (54 Tarrant Street, Arundel). “We have had occasional events before, but outside the festival. We have had various individuals and musicians in the past, but usually in November. Now we are doing it during the gallery trail.” Poet and international poetry award winner Anne-Marie Fyfe and multi-instrumentalist and poet Cahal Dallat will be joined by South Downs poets. Tickets £11.50; email firstname.lastname@example.org.