Hello! Thanks for stopping by to find out about Secret Art Parties. If you're more of a watcher than a reader, there is a video at the top of the page that will give you more of an idea of what to expect. If you want to read about how Secret Art Parties came about, right from the very beginning, read on!
My name is Lewis Chapman. You can spot me in the picture at the top of the page - I'm the beardy one on the right guiding one of my lovely guests to create her stunning masterpiece. The picture just above are two of my earliest Secret Art Party guests who I actually hosted in my back garden!
I have an early memory of being cast as an artist in primary school; in 1991 my teacher held up and waved about my drawing of a snail as an example of good work. Since then I have never doubted that I was meant to be a painter.
It wasn’t to be as easy as I thought - in 1999 I had to go to the school art studio at break times to study A-Level art in my free time as it was double timetabled with maths and chemistry. Determined to be a painter, I eventually went to Goldsmiths College and instead of a path to better painting, I found conceptual art and sharks in tanks. Unperturbed, I went to the Florentine Ateliers; the world centre of classical painting, and found uninspiring representations of biblical allegories and pristine yet lifeless still lives. Dissatisfied by what the art institutions had to offer, I continued to paint alone until I chose to train to teach art at the University of Cambridge in 2007.
Sharing my passion for painting has given me great pleasure over the 10 years I have spent teaching art to people of all ages and backgrounds. Teaching has taught me that confidence and access to skills are key to creative fulfilment. Still, as an art teacher I realised that I wasn’t enjoying teaching painting as much as I could. This is when, in 2017, I thought of Secret Art Parties.
I asked, why not exchange the classroom for a beautiful private function room? Why not switch timetable constraints for having more than enough time? Why not swap average quality materials for artist quality materials that are a joy to use? Why not substitute a lesson for a celebration where learning happens? Why not replace a cursory glance at other artists' work for a meaningful and fruitful investigation into the techniques of artists who have devoted their lives to painting? Why not trade expectations to express one's-self with limited support for substantial offerings of beautifully effective painting techniques? Why not exchange the exclusive ideas of talent and genius for the inclusive ideas of joy of painting and painting as a deeply human activity that is open to all...
...and why not have some delicious food and a refreshing drink on the go too?
33 Secret Art Parties later and so far so good! I am so grateful to all who have come and painted masterpieces with me so far - and I can’t wait to paint with you, dear reader, at one of my Secret Art Parties in 2020!