The success of my Tactile Exhibition at the Salisbury Gallery, took place in 2006 and the subsequent media interest, renewed my search to find at least one gallery that shows tactile paintings.
Success at last, the Touch Tours collection at the Tate Modern had a collection of objects that could be touched, however, they did not have a painting.
I wrote to the Curator of the collection and told him of the work and enclosed photographs. I realise it was bold but I felt I had nothing to lose. Within a week I was contacted and told that I was welcome to visit and see what they had to offer visually impaired visitors.
My visit and meeting with the curator Marcus Horley was so informative. They offer a trolley on which are objects that are on show in the Gallery. The trolley is taken to the object and the visitor can be told about the object, for the majority they would have some vision and then they can handle it. However, no painting. You also have to book a time slot to see and feel it.
I explained how and why I worked in this style a while later, Marcus Horley said that it would be good to have a tactile copy of one of their paintings and thought that Whaam by Lichtenstein would be his choice. We went to go and look at it and it is large, probably 12 feet wide and I think about 8 feet high. He was right it was a perfect painting to copy. We established what the size should be, high enough to reach up and wide enough to be able to be touched within an arm stretch.
The formalities of price and a time scale were discussed and the deal was done. I walked out of the Tate in a dream like state, clutching a poster of the painting. I had only been painting two years and my very first commission was for the Tate Modern. Although my work would not be hanging on the walls, however, for it to be part of the Touch Tours collection and shown to visually impaired visitors, in that hallowed place, that was good enough for me.