Article by Worcestershire’s Vale and Spa on Gallery Opening

Internationally renowned artist opens gallery in Pershore

“Running a gallery has always been a lifelong ambition of mine.”

Now an internationally renowned artist, Jilly Oxlade-Arnott’s latest venture is The Gallery. A bold, new art gallery in Pershore showcasing her extensive collections and works from guest artists.

When Jilly was a little girl she was keen to draw anything and everything, always asking her parents “what can I paint next?”. In her youth, she enjoyed drawing birds of prey and flowers, and was pestered by her friends to do their art homework for them. Birds and flowers turned into life drawing when she discovered her love for watercolour in her teens and decided to study technical drawing at college.

After college Jilly naturally moved into marketing where she had a successful and creative career working in graphic and web design and photography. In her spare time, she pursued her passion for art. Her first commission was her mother in law’s house which kickstarted her career as a professional artist and led her to she set up Architectural Impressions.

“My love of architecture came from my father who was an architect, and studying technical drawing helped give me perspective and attention to detail when I started painting buildings. The angles come naturally to me and I never use a ruler in my compositions.

“My favourite thing to paint is people’s houses because it’s so intimate, but I’ve been asked to paint a range of things over the years. Public houses, animals – I’ve done the lot! I often get asked to create property development boards to demonstrate what a property will look like and how it will blend into its surroundings. People will send me 2D plans, bricks and other snippets of materials and I put it all together like a jigsaw. Those projects are always fun and challenging!

“In 2018, I was selected to paint a giraffe for Worcester Stands Tall. Last year marked 125 years of the National Trust so I made them a new collection comprising of 24 of their properties, and I currently have an exhibition in Croome where 60 of my original pieces are displayed in its library.

“Back then I was working on our dining room table. Since moving to Pershore I’ve set up a dedicated studio in our home, where I’ll soon be running beginners and intermediate watercolour classes,” she said.

Fast forward to two months ago and Jilly and her husband Chris were ready to open The Gallery, Pershore’s new, bold and expressive art gallery.

“Running a gallery has always been a lifelong ambition of mine so when we found this space, we jumped at it. We met with the landlord in June and opened in July! Chris has been busy fitting it out – he’s great at getting in my head and making my designs a reality – while I’ve been sourcing and creating art to stock.”

At The Gallery, visitors can view Jilly’s extensive collections and take in work by 25 guest artists which rotate regularly providing something new to discover with every visit. Pastels, watercolour, glassware, ceramics, jewellery, and photography from Wyre-Piddle-based photographer Nigel Wood are just some of the things that can be found inside The Gallery.

“We aim to showcase work from three Pershore-based artists every rotation, but we also display art from wider Worcestershire and further afield. We currently have porcelain from Lisbon on display. Some pieces are from very well-established artists (both locally and nationally) and some are from new emerging talents. It’s wonderful because I can sit here painting and be inspired by the colourful artwork that surrounds me.”

Jilly and Chris plan to hold ‘meet the artist’ evenings where visitors can socialise with a cup of coffee (or glass of wine!), explore what’s in store and ask questions about their creative processes.

“We’re big on entertaining people and want them to enjoy their experience at The Gallery. So far, everybody has left us feeling happier and that’s partly down to The Gallery’s bright interior. We have so many different artists’ works here and what ties them all together is colour. We’re a joyful, colourful space celebrating art and we hope to build a community and platform for local artists.”

Jilly and Chris have access to a community of artists and because of this they can order things in if somebody asks for something that isn’t on display.

“We don’t work on high commissions, our philosophy is about getting a good price for the customer and the artist. Pieces range from £20 to £600 so should accommodate every budget. We’re open from Wednesday to Sunday.”

If you pop in, keep an eye out for ‘The Gallery Man’, Jilly and Chris’ pink mascot.

To read more local businesses stories, visit our blog.

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