Despite the pandemic and temporary closure, a North East gallery is determined to see the bigger picture, making its 11th year in business the most successful to date.
Founded in 2010, North East Art Collective was created to support regional artistic talent, devoting its gallery solely to exhibits inspired and reflecting the North East’s talent, culture and heritage. In May and June it celebrated its most profitable period, with sales increased, despite covid restrictions.
From a pool of 40 artists, the gallery has grown to display over 150 individuals’ work – including BBC Radio Newcastle’s breakfast presenter Alfie Joey, whose Alfart is currently the exhibit of the month.
Some of these artsits have gone on to enjoy national and even global success, including South Shields’ Kevin Day, who recently signed with DeMontfort Fine Art. His work has been exhibited to great acclaim in the UK and Europe, with collectors as far afield as the USA and Australia.
In addition, the business has raised in excess of £20,000 for local charities, including the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, Rape Crisis Foundation North East and latterly Newcastle Food Bank, which has seen an increase in demand as a result of the pandemic, furlough and subsequent unemployment.
Gabrielle Morris, 28 and from Chester -le -Street, started at North East Art Collective almost a decade ago to gain work experience, secured a job as a ‘Saturday girl’ before progressing to become Gallery Manager in 2017. She said: “Here at North East Art Collective we have always had sight of the bigger picture!”
“We set up to support local talent, whilst demonstrating the pride, passion, heritage, culture and history for which the North East is renowned. I am delighted how the business has grown – showcasing work from a wide variety of talented individuals, from our senior artist, Walter Holmes, aged 88 and from Ponteland to up and coming Sam Wood, 27 and from Heaton, who has been tipped as one to watch.”
Alfie Joey BBC Newcastle radio presenter, event host, comedian, actor and illustrator, said: “A miner’s son from Thornley I have a lot of affection and a strong connection to the North East. It’s an area known for its people, passion and pride. Through my art I hope to reflect the diverse and exciting culture of the region.”
Alfie’s work is varied but he specialises in drawing caricatures in busy city scenes, coal miners and working folk. He has also invented a bespoke range called #anagramart where he takes a client’s name and rearranges it into a fictional ancestor/character.
Sam Wood said: “I am passionate about capturing this city past and present though my work. The everyday life, people and places around me are endlessly inspiring.
My work hopefully lets viewers reflect on the city and it challenges them to see Newcastle from a new or different perspective.”