BAT COLLECTION LIAISON
My career has been in the printing industry, starting as an apprentice compositor, through to become a journeyman and then worked for several printers. I changed my career to start as a trainee print salesman. Became involved with a printing company as a shareholder, left to be the Sales Director of a Company in Basildon. This is when I become involved in Basildon through the TBA (The Business Association of Basildon and District).
At this time I started to print catalogues for an Art Gallery in London called Austin/Desmond, who specialised in British contemporary Artist. I then set up my own printing company and continued to work with Austin/Desmond. By this time my passion for art began to expand and I went to Morley Collage every Saturday morning to paint! Whilst judging a ‘Young Enterprise’ competition I discovered an Ivan Hitchens painting hanging on the wall of the Basildon Centre! By recognising this painting I met the Trustees of BAT (Basildon Arts Trust) and realised that here was a big collection of paintings that, though lack of understanding, were discarded and had not been looked after.
One of our members of the TBA is Eastgate Shopping Mall. They gave BAT an empty unit to show the trusts paintings and local artists. In five months we had nearly 50,000 people through the door! This proved that Basildon needed a permanent place to show art and to encourage people to paint and express their passions. The gallery closed, as it had to be re-developed. Three years later Eastgate gave us another unit to show the Trusts paintings and local artists. This expanded to include artist from outside of Basildon and has been a great success. After four years this has closed for development but has been moved to another unit.
During this time I semi retired and opened my own gallery to support local artist, one of which painted my portrait, as displayed in this text, by Anthony Ellis who lives in Basildon but was trained in Florence.
The merger of BAT with TFEA is the fuition of many years of keeping BAT going, through some very difficult times. I am so delighted that at last we are able to fulfil the original concept of BAT with TFEA, albeit in a slightly different way, by helping the People of Basildon.