Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Whistlefish Galleries

Fact: it's hard to find original, affordable art in London.  Walk into any flat and you're bound to find the same IKEA or Habitat print you saw in just the previous flat you were standing in, with the owner sheepishly shrugging and mouthing the word, "IKEA."  Wanting something a bit more original, you're then either assaulted with Banksy rip-off shite or another sort of abstract pretension that you pretend to like because you think the "colours will work well" with your couch.  Um, no.  Or, you can do what I did and pick up someone's junk on the side of the road, hang it up over your bed and subsequently suffer from re-occurring nightmares.

That's why I was extremely pleased to walk into The Whistlefish Gallery in Looe (with other locations in St Ives, Padstow, Truro, Falmouth, Liverpool and Southport) this past weekend during my fantastic trip to Cornwall.  They promote and sell local artists' (in particular, I'm a big fan of Janet Bell's coastal scenes, above) prints in both framed and unframed options at very affordable prices (I picked up a lovely brushed silver scrap frame for £8.95 that came with a free card print of my choice, which is working beautifully in my bathroom) and the friendly, welcoming nature of the galleries' staff is very disarming and encouraging to first-time visitors.

There's something for everyone - if you're not into the cheerful artistry above that I'm so enthused by, there are plenty of other artists to choose from.  I especially like the fact that The Whistlefish is not snooty enough to not stock work by artists who are "untrained", as one biography admits. 

Most of all, I love getting out of the shower and seeing the framed print on the wall, bringing back happy memories of our trip to Looe and Padstow.  I'm thinking of heading to their online shop to order a framed print for the bedroom wall - hopefully something that will give me a better night's rest.

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