Norwich School Blog: Kerwin Blackburn Crypt Art Exhibition
ON Kerwin Blackburn on Exhibiting in the Crypt Gallery
ON Kerwin Blackburn recently brought his art exhibition: ‘Lights, Canvas, Action III: Homecoming’ to the Crypt Gallery at Norwich School. In this blog post, he talks about what it was like to be back exhibiting at his former school!
“It was a real pleasure to exhibit my artwork in the Crypt Gallery at Norwich School over a three-week stretch between 23rd February and the 11th March 2022 in my biggest, longest and best exhibition yet – titled ‘Lights, Canvas, Action III: Homecoming’. The 15-day exhibition featured my entire collection of Jackson Pollock-inspired, ‘action painted’ pop art acrylic portraits of music and pop culture icons, along with my range of merchandise and clothing. TVs were also showing my exciting behind-the-scenes timelapse painting videos to give visitors a glimpse into my painting process, along with a feel for the energy I’ve put into establishing ‘By Kerwin’ over the last two and a half years.
After my last five shows in London in 2021 it was great to be back on display in Norwich; interestingly, the slightly slower pace of life in The Close compared to London yielded deeper and more personal conversations about my art than in the capital. My connection to the area and to Norwich School (I was a pupil between 2001-2012; leaving a full decade ago!) was also a big factor in the success of the exhibition.
in particular, it was a real bonus to catch up with many of my former teachers and to welcome tutor groups and class visits to the exhibition – hopefully sparking some fresh inspiration or new ideas among current students along the way!
Growing up, rather than becoming an artist I was always excited about starting my own business one day; creating new products and putting these out into the world. I studied at business school in Manchester after Norwich School to start building the skillset necessary for this aspiration, along with gaining a second, Master’s degree from King’s College London and experience in the commercial world – including in management consultancy, international trade and – crucially – in a sales role at an e-commerce flower and gifting business in Singapore.
I eventually combined my commercial skillset with my natural painting ability to launch my e-commerce art business By Kerwin at the end of 2019, before using the glut of spare time presented by the pandemic to rapidly grow this over the last two years.
At this intersection of art and business – the creative and the analytical parts of the brain – is a real opportunity for both sides to learn from one another, and I really enjoyed sharing my insights with students from both the school’s Art & Design and Economics & Business Studies departments at the exhibition. As well as appearing in another interview feature on BBC Radio Norfolk, recorded in the Crypt Gallery, another highlight of these three weeks was having a guided tour of the Lower School with Mr Worton (my tutor back in 2004!) and to see the many changes since my time there.
Alongside the many positive changes in the school in the 10 years since leaving, the traditions and community spirit remain key facets of Norwich School life; helping to make my exhibition such an enjoyable experience. The Crypt Gallery is an ideal exhibition space, with the 700-year old stone architecture, neutral tones and natural light really complementing the vibrant colours and contemporary feel of my paintings. I would urge many more independent artists to explore this space when looking for an exhibition venue in Norfolk.
Thanks to Andy Campbell and my former 2D Design teacher Ian Passam for providing the perfect exhibition space. And big thanks as well to Jonathan Pearson in the Development Office – who effectively became my PR manager across the school community during my time there!
My focus now moves onto my next stop: New York, where I’ll be exhibiting internationally for the first time at The Other Art Fair, Brooklyn between 2nd – 5th June 2022. My progress can be followed online on Instagram and Facebook, or at www.bykerwin.com where my full range of paintings and prints can be viewed and purchased.”
UK artist Kerwin Blackburn exhibiting his music themed, Jackson Pollock-inspired pop art paintings and prints in Norwich School’s Crypt Gallery in 2022
Shop my full range of pop art painting prints at www.bykerwin.com. Prints available from £35 – £75, high definition printing and fast worldwide delivery.
Source: Norwich School blog