all about bendy's journey..
My name is Tanya and I am a living artist living in Belfast and loving it. Here's a bit about how Mai Bendy Art began.......read and enjoy! You may want, at this point to boil the kettle and grab a choccy biscuit!
So, in 2013, I was made redundant and I had not a CLUE what to do next. I sat down one day and decided to draw a picture of Amsterdam. Random... I know! I had visited there years before and I loved the way the buildings leaned over. They looked like they were chatting away and having a wee laugh with each other (probably about us!!). I have never sold that first one but it is for sale for £1,000,000 here. I drew a few more versions of Bendy Amsterdam after that one.
So I kept on drawing and very soon had a ton of pictures...I was shocked as I hadn't actually drawn ANYTHING since I had graduated back in 1997. ( I graduated with a BA/Qualified Teacher/ Art, Design and Technology)
I was encouraged to post some of them on Facebook, so tentatively, I put them on and to my HORRORS and joy people started to buy them.
I was a bit short on the cash so decided just to keep going as a temporary thing whilst I pondered on the future.
I then decided to do a mini exhibition in The Dock Cafe, Titanic Quarter and Common Grounds Cafe, Queen's Quarter. that was nerve racking, as I had not really shown my work in public…
At this point, I decided to try setting up a very miniscule business. so I spent a lot of time thinking about the implications of it. I had to think of a name, design a logo, set up a simple website (just 2 pages!!) and get business cards sorted. After much time, trial and error..I settled on Mai Bendy Art.
No one else on planet Earth or Google has that business name or domain!
Next, someone suggested I try and sell my cards and prints to local retailers...and this worked! I was again amazed that people actually wanted to purchase my products. still find it quite strange.
I then had an exhibition in the Hub Cafe up near Queen's University. so I did, and....
I have never been so nervous in my whole life!
I invited people and to my mortifications 150 people appeared out of nowhere. Not only did people purchase my prints and cards...most of my originals went too.
So anyway, on I went merrily and one day my sister-in-law suggested I should try and apply for a stall in St. George's Market here in bonny Belfast. So I did in 2014....
I just really love love love
selling my work everywhere...
it is the air I breathe.
Next, The EBL/Ulster Tatler generoulsy did a lovely wee plug of my work.
In October 28, 2014 I had a nerve racking interview with The Belfast Telegraph and in November 2014 an interview with the gorgeous Sarah Travers from UTV on her show The Magazine.....promoting my BE BENDY exhibition in november.
Bloom Magazine then did an article on life and work in Belfast.
There has been a lot of interest from the media since UTV's The Magazine interview, however, I have had said no to almost everyone......I have decided to take a break from it for the next few years ....I find it very tiring and as an introvert, being on the telly ain't the most comfortable place to be.
I even turned down the BBC One Show and Channel 4 that possibly would have catapulted me overnight. But who wants stress and fame when you're already happy and have everything you need and more?
Happiness and contentment is 1 zillion times more important to me than being rich and famous.
My solo Exhibition BENDY BELFAST BUILDINGS in October 2015 in the John Hewitt Bar, Belfast went extremely well. Thanks to everyone who supported and purchased :) I always get nervous before selling and exhibiting.
This ART WORLD adventure that began in 2013 has been scary, exciting, surprising and necessary. I have outlined in my book (not published yet) WHY I draw...the WHY is the most important part, otherwise, I wouldn't bother me socks getting out of bed everyday.
and here are the WHYS....
To pay ze bills
To get it all out of me system...I find it incredibly therapeutic
Someday, if my work becomes better known, I would love to set up some sort of fund/charity which helps very very poor refugees get better opportunities in life. There's a ton of potential in many of these individuals...
To travel more while I am alive. I can't when I'm dead.
I am determined to make this happen...
I was a teacher, then a youth worker, then a student again, then a teacher, then a church worker, then a secretary..... and to be honest, although I am not earning millions.....I am happier doing what I love and am passionate about. Passion is the key here. I will never teach mainstream again - trying to be the perfect teacher almost killed me (quite literally - long story, it's in my book!!)
I get a squillion questions daily about my work but the most popular question is:
WHY DO YOU DRAW EVERYTHING BENDY?
Well to be honest with u, I like to think that my work communicates fun, character and personality. I think my style brings old beautiful buildings to life. Anyone can trace a picture and call it their own......no photoshopping. PROMISE.
BTW, I don't generally draw people, animals or children cos there is.....
WAY TOO MUCH MOVEMENT GOING ON
In a weird way, my journey so far since 1974 has been very unusual and scarily odd. It ain't been a mundane straight boring line. It's been a life full of twists, turns, bends and random tangents! like a rollercoaster, full of ups and downs...it has been quite literally a Bendy Life. I've met so many people from every walk of life on almost every continent. Scientists, world leaders, homeless, politicians, religious leaders, drug addicts, CEOs, artists.....are just some. I've travelled to 40 countries and lived on 3 continents and taught on 3 continents... so all these experiences have shaped me into a rather bizarre individual with a very monumental unique world view.
Looking back, if I hadn't been through all these bends and twists, I wouldn't have met so many incredible people from all ages, personality types (I'm INTJ on Myers Briggs!! google it!), countries and religions. I wouldn't have learned some valuable lessons (in my book). I have a had a privileged life, but with many struggles but I am aware that the universe has clearly been taking good care of me, myself and Bendy!
So the future? I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to get my work out to Dublin, London, USA, South East Asia and the world and all other miscellaneous parallel universes!! One of my goals is to bend 100 more cities in the world. A seeminlgly impossible task...but I believe when you are passionate about something....ANYTHING is possible.
I am excited about the future and hope to someday expand even further. Where there's a will, there's a way. I love creating...
BENDY ART TO MAKE YOU LAUGH AND SMILE!!
My work primarily commission-based now and my prints online are geared towards the tourist market and local gift shops, however, I must keep all Belfastians and Dublinarians happy too. So I need to keep thinking and creating new ideas. I must keep learning from the best artists I know. Follow the successful ones and I may get there some day!
My best mate is my small wee iPhone which I carry everywhere I go. And if i suddenly get a lightning bolt of inspiration...I record it immediately (otherwise I'll forget it forever). This has occurred primarily on the loo, on the bus (I don't drive, long story, it's in the book), Mc Donald's, Primark, Cullybackey and Marks & Spencer's...
So ladies and gentlemen, one hopes I haven't bored you to death...
I would love to meet you..... why not purchase directly from my business premises?!
Thanks for taking the time to read through this epic waffle but I end with my tag line...
BE THERE, BE BENDY, BUY LOCAL!
Tanya (aka Bendy) x
P.S. Mai Bendy Art has been featured on TV, in newspapers, in magazines and on the radio just google her and stalk her! :)