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jobennettoriginals.co.uk

1. How did you get your start?

I studied art for a while because I wanted to paint and I started working at a gallery in Hertfordshire. After that I opened a gallery in Devon before returning to the north-west and opening my current business in 1986. I aim to create a relaxed environment around Contemporary art and to encourage people’s confidence as collectors.

2. Fairs vs shops?

Fairs. I exhibit at various fairs during the year and they allow a good degree of flexibility. I’ve put on solo shows at external venues, but the fair circuit is good because it gives the dealer the chance to cover a large geographical area rather than sitting in your gallery hoping that someone will stop by.

3. A favourite place to exhibit?

I’ve been exhibiting at Chester for nearly 30 years. It’s well placed in the calendar: twice a year, not too early, not too late. And it’s accessible from Wales, Liverpool and the Wirral.

The advantage to London is the large market, but I’ve been surprised in past visits that tastes are similar there to the rest of the UK. I’d expected them to be more disparate. It’s Edinburgh where I’ve found a vibrant market. Particularly in the old days visitors would arrive at fairs and would be craning over the tops of each other’s heads to see.

4. Do you have your own collection?

I try to keep a private collection but it’s difficult. When clients visit and see the pieces you have they try to talk you into selling them, which makes you feel like you have to hide the best works somewhere so they can’t be enjoyed.

I keep some pieces by artists from the north-west and artists I’ve known, pieces that are relevant to my area.

5. Real ale or espresso martini?

I don’t drink martinis – I like a glass of wine occasionally.

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