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  • Gav Munro

Opening Night of Face Values

I don't get nervous at my exhibition launches I just feel weird!

I've been working on this latest collection over the last 2 months and spending a lot of time on my own in the studio so when I have to socialise my brain gets a little confused! You feel a bit disconnected at first which is a strange feeling.

1 hour before the show

The downstairs of the bistro is a cafe and dining area where some of my prints are available for sale.

(above)- Alex is one of the partners in the bistro and has been really supportive of me over the years

(above) Here's me and the staff who did a great job on the night

A British theme was everywhere and we gave gift bags with coffee mugs and postcards away to everyone who came...

(above) Explaining to fellow painter Edem some new techniques I've been trying out...

(above) the music for the night was provided by the wonderful Anton and Andre from the Ukranian Syphonic Orchestra...

(above) The merchandise!

(above) I gave a little presentation and explained the stories behind a few of the paintings....

(above) My favourite photo of the night, all my lovely pals who came along to show their support

In my presentation I spoke about 2 of my paintings, here's a transcript of the speech....

"So the paintings that you see around you now I’ve been working on for around 2 years and they’re interesting cultural icons from both the west and the east and I’ve tried to bring them both together in a few ways.

When I paint I usually have music that relates to the subject blasting out of my speakers so if it’s Nick Cave or the Beatles I’ve usually got them on full volume, in a way I think it helps get a better result in the final painting.

This time was a bit different, I read a lot about the subject and usually listened to interviews with them as I painted them and a weird thing happened. I got fascinated by their ideas and their individual thought style. So I wanted to try and incorporate that into the paintings somehow.

I’ll try and give you 2 examples of this by explaining these 2 paintings. So the first here is Zhang Eileen. she was writing about life in the 1940s when Shanghai and HK were occupied by the Japanese but what made her special was that rather than writing about the hostilities and the politics she chose to speak about love and relationships that hadn’t been spoken about before in China.

Her writings about sexual politics are pretty brutal but were honest to her. When I saw her photo for the first time she had an unconventional beauty and short cropped black hair and long face and it reminded me of one of the most famous western artists Gustav Klimt. His paintings, as you know, were showed sex in an incredibly beautiful and seductive way. As the only photos of Zhang Eileen that were available were in black and white I thought it would be interesting to show her in color and in a more elegant way which would be in stark contrast to her writings. I hope I achieved that in my own little way!

The next one is one of my favorite people in the world, Billy Connolly. Most people think of him as a comedian but I think he’s more a surreal philosopher of the everyday. This is my 2nd portrait of Billy and I was lucky enough to have my first one exhibited in the national gallery of Scotland, one of my proudest moments!

When I started this painting i wanted to go deeper into his dark side. If you don’t know him, please look him up. His stand up is amazing, his travel shows are illuminating and his general personality is awe inspiring. The thing I find most attractive in people is the way they overcome adversity, i think we all find that enchanting about people. Billy’s story is one of the greatest, he was brought up in a poor city in Scotland and suffered an abusive childhood.

To kill off these demons he battled with drink and drugs for decades but his outlook was always to laugh and focus on the things in life that we all find funny.

In one revealing interview he gave he said when he was 18 he heard a song by Bob Dylan that changed his life. When he was asked about what it was in the song that affected him so much he broke down into tears and said the line ‘I saw a white man he was walking a black dog’. He said that he didn’t know what made him so upset about that line. And as I was painting this I thought that maybe the ‘black dog’ were his demons and walking them meant he’d taken control of them. So I added that text to the portrait.

Most of the paintings here have been created with that method in mind. They are just 2 examples."

Thanks to Annie, Frankye and Myra for the great photos...

Face Values at Mulinnaio Bistro will run until 25th May 2019

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