This Grow An Exhibition project is going to be one of the toughest things I have ever done.

That is a big statement from someone who is overcoming crippling agoraphobia and just recently, my dental phobia!!!

Then why? My art practise up until now has been a solitary one. Painting, firstly at home and then in my studio at Art Space Portsmouth. Occasionally putting my head above the parapet for a small exhibition or open studio.

For this project I need to interact with people right from the start.
• Firstly, finding individuals, organisations and businesses to partner and sponsor me.
• Making my first funding application and all that that entails.
• Engaging with the public – getting them interested in what I’m doing and encouraging them to participate by growing plants.
• Then lastly, the exhibitions and associated workshops.

I’m okay with the exhibition planned for GASP, our gallery at Art Space, it’s on my patch and I can control it. It’s the others I plan to do at partner venues that are scary. And don’t get me started on workshops and sharing my knowledge with others. I don’t think I’m meant to be a teacher. On the times I’ve done impromptu teaching and they don’t catch on or do it ‘wrong’, being a perfectionist, I usually say “Here, let me do it for you.”, which totally defeats the idea of teaching!

So, as I’ve just realised, it won’t just be an exhibition I’ll be growing, it’ll be me growing as well. Hold on Adrian, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!


I have always seen gardening as a lovely way to pass time in the outdoors. Watching, over time, as a seed miraculously turns into a magnificent plant of amazing beauty… even the ‘weeds’.

A few years ago an artist friend said that she really liked my gardening project at The Garden @ Art Space. I hadn’t really seen it as an artistic project, thinking it more of turning an unused space into a little oasis, but still just a garden.

This got me thinking how I could use the Garden for my artistic practice. Then at the end of last year it came to me… I would use the space to ‘Grow An Exhibition’. So in 2014 I will be:-

• Growing plants that I can turn into handmade paper, and then use to make artist books, paper sculptures, draw on, etc.
• Grow plants, like willow, that I can then make into sculptures, frames, etc.
• Harvest and use leaves and seeds.
• Photographically documenting the project through the year.
• And anything else that develops during the year.

I will be looking for the public’s involvement in the project including growing plants, open garden events and workshops.

Then in 2015, when I’ve had chance to process the plant material and make the artworks, there will be an exhibition in GASP gallery at Art Space Portsmouth, and hopefully at other suitable venues around the region.