The First Ever Giffords Art Sale

 photograph of Gregory Smart by Mark Lord 

photograph of Gregory Smart by Mark Lord 

We are really excited to be putting on a small but perfectly formed art exhibition and sale here at Fennells Farm on the last weekend of our tour, 27th - 30th September. The work on display and for sale will be work from Nell Gifford and also from the Giffords Artist in Residence for 2018, Gregory Smart, who is from a renowned circus family. 

The art work for sale will be varied but all produced during the 2018 tour of My Beautiful Circus

"Painting and drawing is something I do to relax and recover and I love it. I believe that if you draw things , they come true." Nell Gifford 

Gregory Smart is a painter, drawer’ and printmaker.  He’s also the great grandson of legendary showmen; Billy Smart, with both sides of his  family steeped in circus; his mother was a trapeze artiste, his  german father and uncles celebrated high wire walkers, whilst his cousin is Giffords very own Yasmine Smart.

Despite his circus heritage, Gregory took his own path to art school, graduating in 2004 with a Masters from the Royal Drawing School, London. The years after art school were spent in East London, teaching and exhibiting. 

In 2011 he relocated to Rio de Janeiro, where he created an art hostel hosting international visiting artists, continued his own art practice, curated exhibitions and taught  life drawing at university level. Drawing on his experience in London teaching in  after school art clubs in Hackney, Southwark and Lambeth he worked with  community leaders on art projects for the youths and creatives of his neighbouring favela; Vidigal.

In 2015 Gregory returned to England and set up his studio in St.Leonards-on-Sea.  In 2016/17 he was Artist in Residence at Ardingly College. Now he is thrilled to return to circus as Artist in Residence at Giffords, make new friends, lots of drawings and feast on the bread of dreams.

I generally draw in hand held books whilst on the show, this allows me practical access to all areas and capture circus life as it's happening. I take some photographs, but these are rarely useful to me for my art,  a fast scribble, if I’m properly limbered up, will take me back to the place and time far more effectively.  Everything is of interest, the performances, build ups - pull downs, life in around the tent, the Giffords community at work, rest and play. I consider the  often rapidly made sketches that fill up books, as complete art works in themselves, but once taken back to my studio, scribbles and memory mingle…what emerges, I call the “bread of dreams”,  from this new material, larger, more sustained drawings, paintings and etchings might be born, far from the circus, in a solitary studio by the sea.