Gallery owner David Starley was “encouraged to give up art”.
As he turns the shop’s sign to “open”, the working day in the Bingley Gallery begins for artist and T&A contributor DAVID STARLEY.
David tells his story by telling us about a typical day in the gallery he has been running since 2019.
“I never thought I would become an artist; at school I was encouraged to give up art, my favorite subject, because it was “not useful”.
Since then, I have traveled the world, graduating in metallurgy, working as an archaeologist and doing dozens of additional jobs, but art has always been a subtext, that it is limited to a vacation sketchbook. or an occasional evening class.
Ten years ago, it got more serious; exhibit in art trails, sell in galleries and finally take the direction of The Bingley Gallery.
“Painting is a fantastic hobby, but a precarious profession. However, it has its advantages. Visiting favorite places to capture their essence with a sketchbook or camera, then return to the studio to convert my prints into a personalized work of art, sometimes effortlessly, sometimes with the frustration of having to scratch or repaint.
Fortunately, oil painting is very forgiving, and a picture can be reshaped for several weeks. The deep paint I apply may take another six months to dry and show. After that, selling is a bit like fishing – patiently waiting for some interest.
People ask if artists are sad to see a painting leave after so much time and effort, but you can’t get too attached – you just share your work with others and of course the bills have to be paid.
Running a shopping mall has its own challenges and advantages. The Bingley Gallery looks like Tardis: its small facade gives way to a succession of rooms at the rear and an exhibition area in the basement below, which retains the industrial aspect of the building’s original cellar. .
With so many walls, the gallery provides an outlet for a host of local artistic talent, including the popular and original work of its former owner Jane Fielder and the incredibly detailed oils by gallery assistant L. Amy Charlesworth. Another dozen artists exhibit there regularly, but to keep things fresh, the front exhibit area hosts a new temporary exhibit every six weeks or so.
On the day of our focus, a new exhibition by Leeds-based artist Judith Levin is being set up. Some of the jobs are so big that they needed a transport van to deliver them. Others are no bigger than a playing card, but all share the same magical ability to convey the spirit of the place.
While some portray other subjects, there is no doubt that Judith Levin’s true passion is for the moor and no one paints like her. As one commented, “Excellent… so good actually I can almost feel my feet getting wet from that rain-soaked moorland. ”
Busy hours and walls are covered and new moorland-inspired ceramics from Cullingworth potter Kath Bonson begin to be placed on surfaces. A “line of wood panels from Gavin Edwards adds their own understated beauty and a scattering of other artists’ 3D work fills in the gaps. The display is complemented by sprigs of lavender in vases and in the outdoor planter artfully tinted a heather more heather with spray paint – artistic license comes to the rescue.
Even when the gallery closes for the day, there is still a challenge ahead. Long before anyone had heard of Covid, Otley Arts Club had booked an art demonstration. There are many artistic groups in the area. Their members are always friendly and enthusiastic, and I am happy to contribute.
Otley’s date had been postponed several times, but the group were keen to stop postponing, so the easel paintings and canvases are stacked in the car and headed to Otley Welfare Center. Presumably noting my usual paint-stained clothes, the organizers lightly express their concern at the difficulty of cleaning oil paint from their newly renovated premises.
There must be an unwritten law that a painting can be completed no matter how much time is available – in this case it’s two hours and of course a blank canvas has turned into a woodland scene and the members watching are delighted, although I know the paint will require some make-up work in the days to come. More miraculously, all of the paint is on the canvas and none on the floor and walls.
It was a long, but rewarding day, and one that is undoubtedly reflected in many ways by many other artists based in the Bradford area. We are fortunate to live in a place full of talent.
* The Bingley Gallery, 29B Park Road, Bingley BD16 4BQ.
Judith Levin’s Moorland, Woodland and Flowers exhibition runs until Monday, November 15.
* For details and information on upcoming exhibitions at the gallery, visit: davidstarleyartist.com/bingley/