Faces of Bedford: Owain George, artist, Willington

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Owain George (photo: Dan Davies)

When the Prime Minister announced the first lockdown in March 2020, commercial and wedding photographer, Dan Davies of Two-D Photography saw his work evaporate overnight. Weddings and events may have been cancelled, but Dan still wanted to take photographs and develop his skills, so Faces of Bedford was born.

“I wanted to give a platform to some of the incredible people of Bedford by taking their photograph and sharing their own words,” said Dan.

“It’s been a terrible time for many wedding and hospitality businesses, so I wanted to try and focus on something positive.

“It’s been humbling to meet some truly extraordinary ordinary people and to help them share their story.”

Each Friday, the Bedford Independent will be sharing one of the Faces of Bedford subjects.

First up is Willington-based artist, Owain George, in his own words:

“My dad was a keen artist but did graphics. I was always encouraged as a kid. I got a book called How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way – and I was hooked.

“I was there every single night doing it after school! Endlessly, hours and hours – something so therapeutic about it.

“It’s not quite like that now with commissions and money changing hands – bit more pressure, but I love it.

Brushing up his skills (photo: Dan Davies)

“There’s nothing quite as gratifying as knowing you’ve nailed a painting. Some are better than others, but sometimes you just know it’s your absolute best work.

“On average it can take four – six weeks per painting. I work full time too at The Danish Camp so it’s difficult fitting in the time – 40 hours a week but it’s more like 60.

“I’m at that crossroads now. Having had coronavirus lockdown and the free time to get stuck in, it’s difficult now to find the inspiration to get in from work and get painting.

“I had four months of lockdown where I was a full-time artist, so it’s tough.

“I was selling more prints as I had the time to push things. Also, with a young family, it’s tough and trying to dedicate time to social media too. My wife is massively supportive – she has my back fully. She knows it’s for us at the end of the day.

“The target is full time. A few more sales at the gallery and the decision will be made. Woburn Gallery is great – the new gallery I’m at in Marlow is exciting too. Nova is a new one, and they’re pushing up and coming talent – they wanted exclusivity, but I couldn’t sign up to that – luckily, they understood.

“At Woburn at my solo show last year, I sold five in two weeks! I couldn’t risk that kind of income loss.

“A lot of it is about networking. I did some county shows in 2017 – exhibiting stuff – got some great commissions. I got shortlisted for wildlife artist of the year – a massive event! Big Champagne event in London. That gave me the confidence, I knew I could do it.

“I’m my own worst critic. I went to the Art Centre [now The Arc] in Bedford – just walked in and enquired. Showed them my work, got in there.

“One chap in Woburn who saw my work there now has five of my paintings! The owner of Woburn Mosaic was at a dinner party at his house saw my work on his wall and then approached me.

“Permanent slots at galleries – it’s the holy grail. Nova fine art approached me then too and I entered their competition to be represented. I came 2nd, but they took me on anyway!

“Art is so subjective – anything can be considered art! If it’s on people’s walls, it is art. If people buy it, it is art. I’ve always loved animals. I’ve been to India – it was life-changing. Loved it so much I went back the next year. I’ve always had an eye on conservation issues. Started with subtle suggestions. I think awareness is important.

“I moved to Bedford from Yorkshire when I was 15. I love living here. Bedford inspires me, it’s beautiful.”

If you would like to nominate someone for the Faces of Bedford project, please email Dan at daniel@two-d.co.uk. Visit the Faces of Bedford Instagram page for the full gallery.

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