AN ARTIST is opening up her garden to stage her first exhibition in the town

Andi Theokle, who moved to Old Town from London at the start of last year before lockdown to be with her partner Stuart Maule, is hoping to get to know the community and showcase several collections of her pieces.

An artist for 20 years, she said: “There is a lot of understated artists and a big art community in Swindon. I’m a little bit nervous about having people in my home and garden but I want to make the most of it.”

“I’m the kind of person who thinks outside the box. I’ve done a few markets in Wiltshire and I like the fact art is more accessible and it’s not just for the elitist person anymore – you don’t have to be wealthy to buy or own art. Everyone should have the opportunity to buy it and it should be affordable to everyone.”

She was meant to be taking part in the Swindon Open Studios but it was cancelled after Covid restrictions meant is wasn't viable. But it did hold an art market with Eastcott Studios and MAMS Gallery in May.

Andi studied an interior architecture course at Manchester University and an art foundation at Middlesex University and has moved from interior design to art for people’s homes.

"Everyone has their particular style but my medium is ink,” she said. “The way the chemicals interact with the coloured ink is an amazing reaction. My favourite part is how the metallics interact with the coloured ink to create its own texture. People ask me – ‘is it like watercolour? You add water to it to create the extra dimensions.”

Andi was inspired to bring art into people’s homes 15 years ago after a couple approached her saying they loved one of her paintings but couldn’t afford it.

“I said to the client 'What can you afford and he had his daughter in the car and as it turned out she had leukaemia and was going through treatment. He didn’t want to say why he couldn’t afford it but that was the reason so I said ‘You can just take it on one condition, you update me on her progress’.”

“I didn’t hear from him for six months and then I found out the painting had bought happiness and energy into their everyday life. The little girl was fine and in remission.”

She says her family and friends are glad she has taken the leap with art .“It can change how someone feels. Interior design is for a cooperation whereas I never got that kind of satisfaction as I do from painting for people.”

The garden exhibition is tomorrow from 12 until 8 pm at 60 Bath Road in Old Town.