Students up and down the land starting the new academic year with a large loan, a call on the Bank of Mum and Dad and the prospect of flipping burgers to make ends meet would be forgiven for casting an envious eye at Laurence Poole who is managing to fund his art course by selling his art works. I went to Laurence’s Private View of A Congress of Curiosities last night at the Trinity Gallery, Hastings, which incidentally is rapidly establishing itself as a major player on the East Sussex arts scene. I was lured in by the beguiling little video they sent me of one of his creations a robot based on a Marshall speaker; not only does it have all kinds of things going on its head but its globular hands appear to spark electricity.
Laurence specializes in assemblage and I was most impressed by his jokey, quirky creations which included marbles set in acrylic gel, a daisy of recycled carbon dioxide bulbs, several masterfully constructed collections of small vehicles, a chess game where the king had been overturned and you could see the blood.
I was even more impressed to learn that Laurence had only become a practising artist about a year ago but had already sold in a gallery in London. And to my surprise he was starting a foundation degree in Fine Art Contemporary Practice at Sussex Coast College where I myself am a student.
“Why go to college when he already was managing to support himself from his art?” He explained that he had left school at 18 and really wanted to get a degree. Previously he had been employed doing a boring office job which turned out to sound a little less boring than he initially made out: he had been advising companies how to make best use of their office space. “Most people just glaze over when I explain,” he said.
He had started at Sussex Coast College only the day before “I think the first assignment looks quite challenging” he told me. I was able to confirm that I found the course both challenging and satisfying. With some of his art work selling at over £3,000, I also thought he might have a thing or two to teach us.
The secret he said was in the finish. “If you want to sell you have to ensure that the finish is really good and that works are properly framed. If work is not finished well, people won’t buy; they think, ‘oh I could do that myself.’”
I looked at the assemblage of cars – I certainly didn’t think I could do it myself. Just finding the cars alone looked as if it would be a major challenge. Heavens, there must have been little cars in the house at some point – I seem to remember their wheels fell off and they got crunched underfoot before going in the bin with other bottom of the toy cupboard detritus.
I’m just not that good at keeping stuff – I liked his record player clock – selling for just £250.I think there might have been a record player like that knocking around at some point as well. That probably went into a bin maybe on the same day as the broken cars got cleared out. I think that is one of the reasons why Laurence’s art is so appealing. You recognise stuff that you had forgotten and he gives it a new lease of life. That and of course the fact that it is finished really, really well.
A Congress of Curiosities is running at the Trinity Art Gallery from Thursday 27 September 2012 till 10 October; 8 Trinity Street, Hastings,TN34 1HG. More of Lawrence’s work can be seen at http://www.laurencepoole.com