Starting out in the creative industries can be quite daunting at first. When I started out as a photographer I did some local basic photography jobs then did a gallery as part of my graduation from the HND I studied at Sandwell College in Birmingham. My gallery was an instant success and I sold quite a lot of prints and this really gave me confidence to try to become a full time professional photographer and yes it took a few years to find my market and a move to Edinburgh but I’m now a full time professional photographer and have been for some time and I love it.

Liv, my wife, is now making that transition. She worked as a chef for many years and while she loves cooking at home (and I love eating her food) she really hates working within the industry and is slowly but surely making the transition to becoming a full time illustrator. Like me she studied a HND (albeit an Illustratrion HND while I did photography) and she’s had a few commissions and she’s now exhibiting her work in her second gallery of 2014.

For her second exhibition, which is by far the more interesting of the two, she was contacted by the Gallery Manager at Hula Juice Bar and Gallery which resides at the bottom of West Bow, right at the edge of Edinburgh’s Grassmarket and just beneath the Royal Mile. Hula Juice Bar and Gallery (click on the text for their website) is one of those places as a local you tend to walk past as a local (largely because it’s packed with tourists) but inside it’s really cute, very friendly and they sell really bloody good drinks. I’m not just saying this because Liv is exhibiting there, I’m about as straight talking as they come, but I’ve had several milkshakes there and I’ve tried a couple other drinks and I’m borderline obsessed with them. My favourite drink by far is called the nutty professor which contains yoghurt, peanut butter (!!!) and more. Simply awesome.

In terms of how it happened, as mentioned Liv was contacted earlier in the year about exhibiting. They particularly liked the Vintage Kitchen series of illustrations as the food theme would fit in perfectly with the venue and an opening night was eventually set for the 5th September.

There was some debate just before the opening night as to whether the opening date was to be changed as Liv’s father sadly died on the 30th August and as you can imagine she was absolutely destroyed by this (Liv has written about this here), but Liv being the trooper she is decided to go ahead with the opening night and it turned out really great. There’s always trepidation as to whether anyone will turn up but a good few people turned up for the opening night and I captured a few photos of the opening night and some of the pictures hanging on the wall. I wasn’t really there in any professional capacity, just largely as support for Liv and I ended up spending 95% of the evening talking instead of taking photographs but it was cool.

To date Liv’s sold quite a few prints both framed and unframed and she’s sold a tonne of smaller items like postcards so to date it’s been quite the success. The exhibition is running until early November, so there’s plenty of time to sell more products but this has been a great boost for Liv.

Just as I found with the first exhibition I did many years ago, to sell work at such an early stage in your career is a great morale boost and in light of Liv’s work place (restaurant) being absolutely shitty (sorry about the language but it is) to work at we’re thinking it’s time now for Liv to go full time with the illustration and really concentrate.

So here are a few photos from this really lovely venue. If you’re interested in any other commissions then do contact Liv but even if you want to drink one of the most awesome milkshakes/smoothies in Edinburgh check out Hula.

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