Holly V Maslen – Artist, Designer, Illustrator » The Year Of The Gallery

The Year Of The Gallery

After working pretty much every day since the beginning of March I finally have time to put pen to paper and document what I will probably end up calling: “2016, The Year Of The Gallery”

I had my eye on Big Art, a disused Boatyard, on Bembridge Harbour for years but, even after making enquiries, I failed to make any headway with my plans for the space. One day, as I was driving past, I saw banners outside the building reading “BIG ART” in colourful lettering. Someone had had the same idea as me!!!


That someone turned out to be painter, filmmaker and musician extrordinaire, B.B. Bango, so I asked him to let me know if he ever wanted to share the space. It turned out that in March this year he did want to share it and told me to get my skates on and find artists to fill the building. I quickly put together an email and sent it out to all my contacts at 3pm, by 7pm I had 20 artists who were excited about exhibiting. The next task was to get in and paint the huge space, tidy it up and get my display boards set up. I wanted to open before Easter. It didn’t take too long and before I knew it my vision had come true, very quickly. My vision for the building had always been to fill it with art and provide an interesting place for artists to exhibit.


The Opening Night came….and with it came a big black storm cloud and torrential rain. I stood in the doorway with the rain lashing in and worried that no one would come out on such a night. I was wrong. At 6pm on the dot an endless stream of wet and soggy friends, family and clients came through the door to see the new gallery and, despite the lack of lighting and heating and the puddles on the floor coming from the leaking gap between the sunken floor and the car park, it was a fabulous night.


I kept the gallery open 7 days a week to maximise the short amount of time we were there (6 months). In retrospect, this was a bit of a mistake. I hadn’t thought about all those summer nights and parties where I would still be up at 4am. Thank God for “my artist’s couch” where I took a few afternoon naps….sometimes being caught out in the act! So, when I closed at the beginning of September, that last thing I wanted to do was open up another gallery. I had enjoyed the experience but wanted to get back to working on my own designs and art. However, after a month or so I started to miss the routine,  so when the opportunity came up to take over the disused building next door I said “Yes”.



It was a bit of a mission to say the least, but with a little bit of help (actually, quite a lot of help, from my multi-talented boyfriend, Adam) it didn’t take too long and I was able to open Mini Big Art on the 17th of November. My winter opening hours are much reduced from my previous 7 days a week….although I will probably return to those over the summer. The new space has a lovely feel…..it is cold and draughty, but somehow still feels cosy, and I have the work of around 25 artists on show. Winter opening hours are shown below….


Our next big show is planned for February, where we will be hosting a themed Valentines Exhibition, and work will regularly be changed throughout the year to keep things fresh and interesting.


If you are passing please pop in and say hello. The most important thing for me is to have visitors through the door as there is such a wonderful selection of talent here on the Island it’s always great to see people appreciating that. Now, because I have a day off, I’m going to focus on some of my own work and get my creative flow going again…..if youre interested to see what I’m up to you can see my work here http://www.hollyvmaslen.bigcartel.com

Thanks for reading and we hope to see you at MINI BIG ART soon 🙂

Posted: November 30th, 2016
Categories: Holly Maslen News
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