On the first of October 1984 a young budding artist called Alan Reed took the plunge to go self employed as a full time artist through the Enterprise Allowance Scheme, an initiative set up by Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative Government which gave a guaranteed income of £40 a week to unemployed people who set up their own business. Over 350,000 individuals were funded through the scheme including artist Tracy Emin and the founders of Viz Magazine.
I remember the build up to going Self Employed very vividly. I recall that I’d been working on a one year contract at the Hancock Museum painting the backdrop for a huge display called Abel’s Ark. When the contract ended I was unemployed for several months so I decided to work towards an exhibition of some new paintings to be exhibited in an art gallery in Rothbury. The local press picked up on the story. I’d managed to save a £1000 to put in a new business account which meant I qualified to receive the £40 a week for a year. This was a massive help in getting started on 1st October 1984.
Those early years in business were also aided by a part time income from lecturing at Derwentside Technical College in Consett where I taught graphic design and illustration. Much has happened since then which I will be writing about over the next few months to record my travels and life as an artist.
It’s incredible to think that I’m now celebrating my 30th Anniversary in business. Where have the years gone? And where did the hair go?
To celebrate my 30th Anniversary I will be holding a number of exhibitions over the next 12 months. Here are a couple of dates to put in your diary:
15th November 30th Anniversary Christmas Party at my Studio & Gallery, Ponteland.