The launch night of local artists, Ben Hunt and Aimi O’Donnell’s exhibition, ‘Illuminescent Futures’, at the Urban Arts Studio in St Annes, was not your usual ‘opening’ event with a glass of sparkly and a canapé while everyone gazes intently at each canvas.
Owner and events director, Jay Andrews, told me, ‘We host work by a different local artist every month and we like to launch each show in an interesting way’.
So this month, in addition to viewing the artworks, we were invited to spend the evening listening to some groovy beats from the guest DJ followed by a set from Ben’s punk techno band. Yes, he plays guitar too.
The groovers started gathering in the early evening to view the paintings in daylight, but as dusk fell and the evening warmed up nicely, the UV lighting, strategically pointing towards the artworks around the venue, brought a different dimension to the pieces. ‘Wow’ was a word frequently heard as the images popped out from the canvas and took on an extra elemental glow.
Ben and Aimi often paint on a shared canvas at the same time in their playful style resulting in works like ‘The Last Tea Party’, ‘Off with his Head!’ and ‘Skull Chick’. The artists’ love of sci fi, is definitely a recurring theme in their works. Futuristic sci-fi chicks and robots beckon to us from the walls, while the vibrantly painted mannequin in the corner draws its own admirers.
Ben also designs and writes his own sci-fi comics and these are available to buy, alongside postcard prints of some of the artworks. The original pieces are also for sale and the studio’s reputation for high sales from their monthly exhibitions suggest that these works might not be on the walls for long.
The enthusiastic art lovers drank in the effusion of amazingly bright colours shouting from the walls, while drinks from the bar, alongside the live music, and flashing neon lights, made for a relaxed and cool vibe. A truly joyful, engaging and fun evening.
The exhibition has now closed but you can keep in touch with developments by following the page ‘Ben Hunt and Aimi O’Donnell art’ on Facebook.
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