all about bendy's journey..
My name is Tanya and I am a full-time artist living in Belfast and lovin' it. Here's a wee bit about how Mai Bendy Art began...read and enjoy the ride! To see the latest updates keep an eyeball on Facebook!
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 havn' a wee laugh with each other (probably about us!!). I have never sold that first one. 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 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 me 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 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 me 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. My depiction of the venue is on the right...
So anyway, on I went merrily and one day my sis-in-law suggested I should try and get a wee stall in St. George's Market here in bonny Belfast. So I did... more info here!
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.
....I then decided to start selling my work at St. George's Market, I have decided to set up shop there every sunday from now 'til eternity...
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?
Answers on a postcard, por favour.
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
I currently support charities which I feel strongly about
Someday, if my work becomes better known, I would love to set up some sort of fund/charity which helps very very poor ignored people in society be heard and get a better chance in life
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 work does reflect my 44 years journey so far. 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.
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 and now it's time to give back and say THANKS. Someone somewhere has been watching over me and even arranged a UK passport too!
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 parallell universes!! One of my goals is to bend more cities in the world. (So far, 12 have been bent beyond recognition). A seeminlgly impossible task...but I believe when you are passionate about something....ANYTHING is possible.
Up until 2014, I had really only been selling cards, prints, cards and more prints. I happily came to the point where I could expand my product range....so now, to my delight, I sell .....
postcards, notebooks, tea towels, coasters magnets ....
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 GIFTS TO MAKE YOU LAUGH AND SMILE!!
My work principally is geared towards le tourist market, 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 A6 notebook which I carry everywhere I go. And if i suddenly get a lightning bolt of inspiration...i write it down 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, Burger King and Cullybackey.
So ladies and gentlemen, one hopes I haven't bored you to death...
I would love to meet you..... Pop by St. George's Market if u want. I would love to chat and have a laugh....i'm near the fish.
Thanks for taking the time to read through this epic waffle but I end with my tag line...
BE THERE, BE BENDY, BUY LOCAL!
P.S. Bendy has been featured on TV, in newspapers, in magazines and on the radio just google her and stalk her! :)