PROFESSOR Ken Martin, owner of the View Two Gallery, has gained a reputation for hosting exhibitions that wouldn't stand a cat in hell's chance of patronage from some of the snobbier curators.
So nothing surprises him. Until two people with broad Yorkshire accents wandered into his venue at 23 Mathew St.
Allan Budd explained he worked fitting tiles to bathrooms and kitchens all over the place.
Away from his world of grouting though, in the shed at the bottom of his garden, he created pictures of the famous using nothing more than leftover chippings.
He teamed up with Rita Gav, a pastel artist, who took Allan's advice and switched to mosaic art.
The result of their collaboration will be seen for the first time by the public this Friday night when View Two hosts the first ever exhibition by Allan and Rita.
Preparing for a night on the tiles are Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Stevie Gerrard, Wayne Rooney and the Squire of Knotty Ash, Ken Dodd. Add to that Johhny Depp, Jimmy Hendrix, Madonna, David Bowie, Mick Jagger , Paul Weller, Ian Brown and more.
Prof Martin, himself a professional artist, says he was amazed when he saw the mosaic creations of Allan and Rita.
He said: “They just wandered into the gallery on a sunny afternoon and explained they were looking for somewhere to show their work. They had never exhibited anywhere.
“I have a feeling they had been to some of the posh galleries but decided it wasn’t for them.
Rita and AlanWhen they uncovered their work it was unbelievable. Staring at me in the face were these stunning mosaic pictures of celebrities, all created in thousands of tiny pieces of tiles. I invited them to create a mosaic of Ken Dodd and the finished work is simply amazing. I thought to myself where have these people been hiding for the past few years?
“ They left a handful of works with me and they have already been sold. This will be one of the most remarkable debut exhibitions we have ever staged.”
Each piece takes at least 2,000 pieces of tile, some of them carefully crafted slivers. Getting a subject’s eye correct can take many hours.
Ken Dodd’s tickling stick took Rita eight hours to complete.