Shoreham artist to leave East Street shop after 35 years
A Shoreham artist is moving out of the East Street shop from which he has sold his paintings for the last 35 years.
Malcolm Hardy, who runs the Artists and Framers Gallery, will leave the premises at the end of September when his lease comes to an end.
La Galleria restaurant, which owns the space, confirmed it is hoping to expand its kitchen onto the site at some point next year.
Mr Hardy, a grandfather of ten, has secured a new studio above the Shoreham Art Gallery in Brunswick Road but he said he was ‘quite emotional’ about leaving East Street behind.
“I’m very sorry to go,” he said. “East Street has become such a part of me, it’s like home really.
“It’s the hub of Shoreham.
"To leave East Street and go to Brunswick Road, it’s a bit like travelling an ocean.”
The art shop has become something of a social hub over the years, Mr Hardy said.
“I like to think this shop has been a place for people to come and meet, and have a laugh and a joke and a chat,” he said.
“Many times I’ve had seven, eight people in here.”
Mr Hardy has become well known in Shoreham in the nearly 50 years he has spent in the town.
Alongside his art shop, he ran the Duke of Wellington pub in Brighton Road for twenty years with his wife Wendy and two of their four children.
He first got into painting when he was around 19 and working at the printing press of a newspapers in London.
He is entirely self taught and said: “I believe if it is in you, it will come out. I don’t believe in being taught anything. You have to discover it yourself.”
On his inspiration for painting, he said: “I go from portraits to local views, landscapes or imaginative things.
“I doodle and see what happens.”
As his time in East Street comes to an end, he wanted to thank everyone in Shoreham who has supported him.
He said: “I just want to thank everyone who has walked down this street and looked through my window, who has popped in to say hello and have a cup of coffee.
“If I could put 35 years in a bottle and relive it, I wouldn’t change a thing.”
Shoreham resident Rosalind Turner said Malcolm was ‘a real character’ and said: “Malcolm’s shop has become a focal meeting point for local people to meet up and have a discussion about what is going on locally and putting the world to rights.
“We will all miss him hailing us for a catch up from outside his shop as we go along East Street.”