Banbury, Oxfordshire

Pinto By Design Launches in Church Lane

Pinto By Design Launches in Church Lane

Late morning, Friday 4th of August. My dad, Vincent Pinto, and I walked across Parsons Street, carrying the very first piece of artwork I will be displaying in a gallery. I was in the midst of a nasty chest infection which was doing its best to tarnish this happy occasion. But now, with the framed flower art grasped tightly, I felt only fluttery excitement at the thought of my work being on display in a public gallery.

Church Lane Gallery has been open a few months already, started as an experimental pop-up by local artist and teacher Baz Whitehouse. When the tenure was coming to an end, he proposed a strengthening of the premise by creating an artists co-operative. Anyone interested would contribute a small fee to participate, get their work in the gallery, and sometimes get additional space to display more work.

I have been doing art all of my life in one form or another, most recently in the guise of my window displays for Helen & Douglas House Hospice Charity Shop, just a few doors down from the gallery. I have even sold some art I created on the back of one of Baz’s art classes, and gained commissions on the back of work I did for the Chris Fenner Fund. But until today I have never been on public display!

Walking down the thin alleyway, it dawned on me I was going to leave my baby, this art I had toiled over, in the hands of strangers! It felt strangely mean to abandon it to the mercy of others! Will they hang it where it deserves? Where does it deserve to hang? Will it be out of place amongst the other art?

Worse still. What if, when the gallery re-opens, someone wants to buy it?

You might find that strange. But often I feel reluctant to let go of the things I produce. Unless it was for someone else from the start, or designed to be in a specific setting. But this, I had just created it because it’s what took my fancy. It was more ‘me’ than many other works I had done recently.

I returned to the gallery at night, accompanied by my father and husband. Live guitar music filled the petite gallery gently, artists mingled, asking each other about their inspirations and ideas. Finger food sat mostly untouched to the side, opposite the wine bottles and soft drinks, which seemed a little more popular!

And there, by an upward facing light, to the right of the counter, was my flower! In amongst the myriad art on display it seemed amazingly at ease, it was in its element and not out of place at all.

Also attending was Liz Dixon, who was partially responsible for my artwork. My father and I had attended a half day course at her Artistic ReTreats and from what we had learned (and bought) there, I took off on my own creative flight of fancy.


My father also became heavily involved in the process, getting hands on with his own ideas and projects. In the case of the artwork in the gallery, named ‘Midnight Bloom’, he handcrafted a bespoke frame out of reclaimed wood.

The gallery has now been open just over a week and the itch now has become to add to the art projects under the banner Pinto by Design, all of which will be available here, on my new website!

Why not check out the Church Lane Gallery next time you’re out and about in the Banbury area?


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