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TODAY ~ * Exhibition of The Art of Gordon Frickers * ~ at The European Parliament

EP_logo_2_JPEG.jpgHere we go to set up and attend the reception for “Life on the Ocean Wave“, THE long awaited exhibition at the European Parliament of The Art of Gordon Frickers.

You only exhibit at the European Parliament by invitation.

Invitations are rare. Few artists are invited.

This day I drive  to Brussels from my secure overnight parking at Watten provided by my good friends Gilles and Bridgitte Baffy. Gilles_et_Brigitte_IMG_0952.JPG

If you were so unfortunate as to miss this event there are lots of photos with this article; enjoy a first ever event, the largest collection of The Art of Gordon Frickers ever shown and a moment in art history, a great evening, wonderful recognition and an endorsement, an honour for all the artists who work in this discipline.

I did not fully realise until I was in the European Parliament and talking with people that artists are not often invited.

Thus we are that much more fortunate to have the endorsement of  this exhibition which is also the first time a marine artist has been invited to show at a European Parliament exhibition.

The the variety of the work shown surprised and delighted, a typical comment was  –

It is wonderful! Your work is so varied, and of consistently very high quality. I am absolutely thrilled to see it all together like that. So many lovely paintings, each with its own beauty. The writings attached in the book really do add an extra dimension, making it very personal.

Each MEP can only invite 2 exhibitions during his/her 5 years in office and there are many worthy causes; for example in the next bay to our exhibition was “50 years of Amnesty International”.

They had lectures, a share of the VIP’s, champagne and lots of yellow balloons.

Some wag said given their appeasement, often biased reporting and favouring of terrorists who they see as ‘underdogs’, what an appropriate colour for Amnesty International…

We had the brighter looking and some said more professional looking show.

Setting course at 08.30 via Dunkirk for the European Parliament loading bay where  2 and a half years after the initial invitation I plan to put on an exhibition the like of which the European Parliament people will never have seen before.

My TomTom GPS would not indicate the exact road in Brussels, mischievously producing 2 of the same name thus the possibility of going to entirely the wrong part of the city.

Fortunately Gilles and Brigitte had given me a map of Brussels so I could choose the next nearest road and trick the TomTom into taking me where I wished. EP_Main_Entrance_IMG_1007_d.JPG

The TomTom was however invaluable particularly when entering the city and bought me to the road next to the one I wanted so in heavy traffic I missed my turning but once I knew where it was after a slight tour on the second attempt I docked successfully and met Phillip Ball assistant to Brian Simpson MEP and my guide and aid for the duration of the shoPhillip_Ball_assistant_to_Brian_Simpson_IMG_0958_d.JPGw.

Phil has been very helpful co ordinating preparations easing the passage through the rules and red tape during the run up.

Nothing phased or threw him, he was always patient and positive, great qualities.

We immediately found the place I was to unload had been changed which may or may not have lead to discovering the check in had no documents for my arrival…

Unphased as usual Phil sorted that out and a badge later my heavily laden car entered the docking area where we were told we had to unload immediately and take the car out.

No way was I leaving the paintings unattended in the docking bay!Bay_23_IMG_0956_d.JPG

All ended happily, I was even given permission to park the car all day in the bay area, bending the rules and very kind.
I was soon to learn that the European Parliament rules are complex and trying, designed to cover all possibilities but what actually happens is much more human and sensible.

Many people I meet seem to think an exhibition is just a matter of hanging a few pictures, a doddle. I hope they have been and are following this tale …

It took us 5 hours to register, park, unload, move the pictures to floor 3, unpack, hang, clear away the packaging and make ready for the evening.

During that time Alan and Jan Warren arrived with the booklets.

Here is the ISBN numberfor “Life on the Ocean Wave“, which can be purchased online (£12.95 + P&P+) from page

http://www.frickers.co.uk/blog/making-a-payment/

0 – 978-0-9569109-0-5

Alan who many of us know works for Yachting World had very kindly resolved a problem and saved me £850.

My designer / printers, Adaptgraphics of Plymouth have performed brilliantly.

For large format try alan@nulladaptgraphics.com or Richard for general digital print enquiries rich@nulladaptgraphics.com

For various reasons, none their fault we were faced with a courier bill to get the booklets to Brussels of £900. …

I first met Alan at the Monaco Yacht Show 2009 where he generously said “At last I have met the famous marine artist Gordon Frickers”.

Alan kindly agreed to have the booklets sent to his home, cost £25.00 and to bring them to the exhibition.

Alan even texted me so I knew all was going to plan.

Meanwhile Phil and I had the paintings in place.EP_Expo_prep_IMG_0957_d.JPG

Then it was only a matter leave setting up the drinks and nibbles to the EP catering and of struggle through heavy traffic to find my Hotel La France and parking for the night, shower, change and take a taxi for the preview.Setting_up_at_the_EP_IMG_0962_d.JPG

Even with a badge I had difficulty getting back in for my own exhibition!

Fortunately again sense over ruled rules and the security chief became one of my first guests.

Dr Michael Baker was another of my guests.

It was Michael’s mother who commissioned the painting HMS Formidable, 1942 – Seafires returning

http://www.frickers.co.uk/marine-art/formidable_seafires.html.

It was this painting which first drew Brian Simpson to www.frickers.co.uk and of which he ordered 2 prints as you can discover by clicking on  the attached letter.Brian_letter_for_Frickers_booklet_d.JPG

Brian told Michael he was very envious and wished he owned the original which of course Michael won’t even think of selling.

At 19.00 Brian Simpson made a short and very appropriate speach explaining some thing of how the show came to be (see attached letter here and or in the booklet)

thus opening the show.EP__Expo_Intro_IMG_0973_d.JPG

I was asked to speak so brushed over what made this show so special which is quite a lot or at least enough to get me talking.

I thanked everyone present for helping to make art history by their presence and to  make the occasion.

Then in appreciation Brian’s role creating the event which included getting the invitation and giving me so much of Phillip Ball’s time, I presented Brian with the final working drawing of the Formidable painting.

The drawing almost reduced Brian to tears.Presentation_at_the_EP_IMG_0976.JPG

I was surprised, I thought it a rather a good drawing…

I hear from Phil it was hung in Brian’s office, pride of place,  withing 24 hrs.

During the evening we enjoyed a steady stream of very interesting people, VIP’s, people who will become VIP’s, friends and others some of whom I hope become new friends.EP_Expo__part_of_a_wall_of_paintings_IMG_0999_d.JPG

A problem I’ve not overcome is how to find time for everyone.

Thee were several guests with who I spoke only briefly and would have loved to have had more time and have them join us for dinner after.

It’s at times like this I could really do with an assistant.

The time must come soon to consider a business plan and investors to achieve the turnover  The Art of Gordon Frickers is capable of raising, and including a personal assistant and professional marketing.

Wall_of_paintings_IMG_0997_d.JPGEP_Expo_wall_of_paintings_IMG_0998_d.JPGPreparing_the_venue_EP_Expo_IMG_0961_d.JPG EP_Expo_guests_IMG_0984_d.JPGEP_Expo_guests_IMG_0988_d.JPG

EP_Expo_with_guests_IMG_1001_d.JPG EP_Expo__reception_IMG_0981_d.JPG EP_Expo_guests_IMG_0994_d.JPG

EP_Expo_with_guests_IMG_0990_d.JPG After which I was very pleased to take some of the good friends I am fortunate to have to a nearby Italian restaurant and treat them then finally by taxi to the hotel and some serious sleeping.

Not that the adventure was over.

There is more to come including further surprises before this tale has returned to it’s home port.