ARTIST Andy Downes who runs the Little Known Art Studio in Leigh, launched his solo show with a ‘meet the artist’ special on Saturday, via video.

He was due to open at the Forum in Southend with an event on March 21, but amid the coronavirus pandemic, on March 16 he decided to cancel for people’s safety. 

Southend Council afterwards closed the premises based in Elmer Square to the public. However, Andy was allowed into the venue to create the video via a safe distance.

You can see it on YouTube by searching The No Art Show. It gives a sweeping view of the work and has an introduction by Andy with a closing message, along with some amusing ‘bloopers’ at the end. 

Andy first came onto the arts scene of Southend and beyond, around four years ago. 

He says he decided to get serious about his passion for painting, following his divorce, and wanting to channel his energies into something positive and productive. 

Since then he has been part of the Leigh Art Trail, Southend Art Trail, has opened a studio where he champions the works of well known and unknown artists, and has been a prolific part of the arts scene. 

He said: “I’m inspired by my art community which I love giving back too. I paint to create a time stamp on life, I feel a day without painting is a day lost.”

He also paid tribute to Paul Karslake, a renowned artist from Southend, following Monday’s news of his death.

Andy said: “I met Paul four years ago and we shared chats over airbrushing. I followed his work for roughly ten years - he definitely was one of my inspirational artists driving me to do what I do. He really inspired me. Although he’s know for airbrushing, his oil paints are incredible, full of his personality. So talented - the planet’s loss.”