My first solo gallery experience
This will go down as a defining moment for me in terms of gauging my progress over the last 10 years. After being invited to Florida USA for my own gallery exhibition with Kelby One I am hoping that the knock-on effect will still happen. I feel kind of sad that I haven’t been asked as yet to exhibit in my own Country and I put that down to the area that I live. By this I mean I think that it’s still suffering somewhat in the arts but, like anything, in Wales, we are slowly bringing up the rear and I remain hopeful and optimistic.
As for the experience well, it really was surreal. It was everything and more and both myself and my partner in crime Gez were treated like royalty and to be fair we just soaked it up, after all, this isn’t happening again for a while. After arriving in Tampa we were greeted and given our own car and had a harsh lesson in driving on the “wrong” side of the road. It was late so we checked in with Scott and Kalebra to let them know we had arrived. They were just so accommodating and reassured us that the next day was going to be a blast.
We had a tour of the Kelby One studios where there was more gear than you could wave a magic wand at! Also, the place was just set out perfectly with a welcome screen saying “Ian Munro is in the house”. This was the first time the hair stood up on the back of my neck and it wouldn’t be the last. The whole attitude of the American people we met was of a “can do” attitude not a “I wish or hope” attitude. This was refreshing and got me thinking above my stations and dreaming big and I felt someone for this moment in time. We got taken out to lunch where Kalebra informed us of how she had been working on setting everything up to suit my work in the gallery. During the lunch a got the feeling that they couldn’t quite compute that I had a day job and was trying to make ends meet.
Later that night they explained that Larry Becker would be interviewing me for the Kelby Live show and this sent me into a bit of a spin. When I arrived again at the studio we were both given time to view the exhibition and boy was I emotional. There it was, my own bio and artist statement on a huge display with captions that I had said regarding my feelings written on the wall. The next thing I noticed was the prints that Bay Lab Printing had done using the Xpozer set up. They are truly amazing hanging pieces with no fixings or frames to be seen and again the hair stood up and I was quite choked up.
That evening there was cheese and wine at the opening and I was pulled from person to person before entering on the interview which went on for some time. I felt like I was on an American chat show. Ultimately when they do something they do it big and it’s left me inspired to try harder and create more. We spent the next day exploring Tampa and dreaming big and if you can’t dream big you can achieve anything! I hope you all take this as a positive for your own work and keep on keeping on.