Start-Yard celebrates one year anniversary with launch of pop art exhibition

Start-Yard, Birkenhead’s start-up incubator, co-working space and cafe, marked a successful year of operation on Friday with the launch night of its latest exhibition, Fear of Being Ordinary by artist Nick Beedles.

Start-Yard is a converted warehouse next to Birkenhead Priory which offers rental units, on affordable, flexible contracts, to small businesses and is currently expanding as all seven spaces are full.

Co-founder Jill Lee told, “We’re starting on the second half of the building, we’re going to have bigger units. At the moment everything is the same size, these units can fit about four or five people but we’ve got a couple of guys in here who are ready for a slightly bigger space so they will move in.”

Speaking about the eclectic art that appears on the venue’s bare brick walls she said, “When we opened last year we just filled the walls with our own stuff, but since then we’ve more or less had a rolling programme of exhibitions, which will stay for a month.”

The latest exhibition is by Nick Beedles, who in the past has worked in video and fashion, and taught at Wirral Metropolitan College.

In addition to some smaller 3D sculptures, the main part of the exhibition is six large paintings based on counter-culture icons such as Andy Warhol and Jayne Casey.

He describes them as “something you can have on your wall and also adding an edge to it. Half pop art, half edgy, at first glance pretty and nice to look at and then you see the different themes that run through them”.

While the canvases are huge, unique and striking, one other remarkable feature is their price – £200 for an original, 100x150cm artwork, comparable in price to some mass-produced prints of the same size.

Nick says this was a deliberate choice; “Art is a very personal thing, if it’s £1,000 people are going to have to go away and think about it whereas if it’s slightly cheaper you’ve got more chance of people saying, ‘you know what? I really like it, I’m going to have it.’ Especially at the moment, everybody is counting the pennies and to be able to make a living from being a creative and selling works is really important.”

It seems his strategy has already worked, with one work selling to a Start-Yard customer before the exhibition even officially opened. The exhibition continues for a month.

Images: Helen Wilkie

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