Dubai based celebrity artist Jim Wheat of Dollarsandart launched his inaugural UK exhibition last weekend at York’s According to McGee gallery. The latest collection, ‘New York, YOU York’ continues to feature the dollar motif for which he is best known, but this time there are a few extra aspects to distinguish the show from previous exhibitions, for both artist and gallery alike.
"It’s a multi-faceted exhibition, that’s for sure", agrees gallerist Ails McGee, "But when you get all the planets lined up like this, it’s best to move fast and secure everybody’s involvement." Building on the gallery’s 11 years of experience in holding successful Private Views, Ails collaborated with a team of supporters including Elzo Events, Speak Easy Libations, Friends4dinner, and Marci Stuchliova Joanna Keely, who provided Hair and Make Up and flowers respectively. The result was a packed event, with an official launch from cricket legend and charity walker Sir Ian Botham. "Sir Ian’s involvement helped hammer the opening day home, but its not as arbitrary as it sounds. The dollar motif so constantly depicted in Jim’s art is less about bling, more about the good that philanthropy and donating to charity can bring about. Sir Ian is internationally well regarded for his charitable deeds and our charity New Visuality has some of the work from young people with disabilities exhibited alongside Jim’s work and so, as a concept, Art, Money and Charity go perfectly well together!"
Jim is delighted with the first few days and is looking forward to next year’s sequel which will unveil his next collection, ‘Quest’, ‘taking us further down the Rabbit Hole’.
Says Jim, "As a Dubai based artist I could have chosen any city in the UK to find a foothold in, but York has that special magic of being a place of heritage but also very progressive. And as a gallery, ‘According to McGee’ has a strong pedigree in supporting contemporary painting. The launch event went like a dream, with sales likely to exceed my expectations. Ails and Greg are delighted they now have clients based in the Middle East! Now it’s all about enjoying the exhibition, and planning the ‘end of exhibition party’ on 1st and 2nd of August, when I’ll be painting a 1 meter by 1 meter canvas. We’ll also be auctioning off a painting that Sir Ian Botham doodled on! And then it’s full steam ahead for 2016’s ‘QUE$T’, the sequel to ‘New York, YOU York’.
Asked if he plans to exhibit further afield in the UK than York, Jim says, "Returning to York really appeals and I’ve had interest to showcase Dollarsandart at a London film premier so I"ll explore that further, together with an interest from a couple of high end Restaurants in the UK for a couple of private commissions, so it’s an exciting time. I’m looking forward to encouraging the people of York to come on down and enjoy the collection."
‘New York, YOU York’ runs at According to McGee, 8 Tower Street, until 2 August 2015