Learn how artist Pete Underhill found connections in the gallery and kickstarted his journey as an RBSA Friend. You can join our network of creatives and exhibit in the upcoming RBSA Friends Exhibition 2021. The deadline to enter is 4 May, find out more here.
About five years ago, I first encountered the RBSA after including a visit to the gallery on one of my regular trips to the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. After fifteen years of working alone from home, I realised that, in the RBSA, there was a vibrant and active group of creatives with which I needed to become involved.
The first stage of this involvement was to become a ‘Friend’ of the Society. This would get me on the mailing list, allow me the opportunity to exhibit my work and attend Private Views and Open Days etc. – getting my toe in the door.
Living in far-flung Leicestershire, as I do, my experience of being a Friend of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists is possibly quite different to those closer to the city.
For me, connecting with other individuals within the RBSA came via my offering my time as a volunteer at the gallery. A full day working with a like-minded team, either hanging or taking down an exhibition, has proved invaluable for me to break the ice and feel more connected with other artists and the RBSA team.
As a Friend, it was a very proud occasion when one of my paintings was accepted for inclusion in the RBSA Prize 2018 exhibition. The first time one of my oil paintings had been on a gallery wall – something that wouldn’t have happened had I not resolved to engage with the RBSA!
Taking the next step
I was hugely fortunate that, only a year later, another of my paintings was announced as winner of the RBSA Prize 2019. Consequently, I was encouraged by senior members of the Society to go for Associateship. I was thrilled when RBSA President Wayne Attwood agreed to be my proposer and Vice-President Robert Neil seconded the proposal. Six pieces have been selected for the RBSA Candidate exhibition later this year. I’m hoping that as an Associate of the RBSA, in addition to inspiring development of my practice, it will enable my further engagement with the immediate and wider creative community and get me out of the studio and into the daylight now and again! Pete Underhill Website: https://peteunderhillart.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/peteunderhillartist Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pete.underhill/