Martin goes from dole to art gallery

ARTIST Martin Snook has his own gallery in Bognor Regis – just six months after he was in the dole queue.

Martin moved in to his first exhibition space this week to put his works on show for the first time.

He has been given room to fill at the Chequer Frame business run by Peter Williams in Norfolk Street.

One of his works on show is a head and shoulders portrait of the late South African president Nelson Mandela.

Martin painted this in acryclic on a 28ins X 23ins canvas against a background in the national colours of green, black and yellow just before the iconic world figure’s recent death.

Martin said: “I painted this recently after a couple of people suggested I should.

“It took me about three hours to complete it.”

The chance to have gallery space was beyond his recent dreams, said 46-year-old Highfield Road resident Martin.

“I was still signing on and getting Jobseeker’s Allowance until the end of June.

“My Enterprise Allowance which replaced it and subsidises my rent runs out at the end of this month.

“I dreamed of having an exhibition when I was signing on.

“But the opportunity to have my work on show and not to have to move it is beyond my expectations. It’s the first time I have seen all my paintings in one place. It could not be better than to be associated with a picture framing business as well.”

He has some 20 paintings on show. He also has space to paint in between meeting visitors. Peter re-opened his business about a month ago after he came out of retirement which led him to close it a while back.

“When Martin was in the cloudhopper gallery recently, somebody suggested I should allow him to display his work here,” he said.

“I don’t mind at all helping him. I’m also teaching him picture framing and he can stand in for me when I have to go out. We could make it a permanent arrangement.”

As reported, Martin’s big break came last month with his debut exhibition at the cloudhopper gallery.