From 4-6th November, Enter Gallery are hitting the road and heading north to Manchester Art Fair.
If you’re toying with attending, the eagle-eyed amongst you may have spotted that the lead image of the event is Yours If You Want It - an artwork by our very own Lee Eelus. To celebrate the sold-out piece enjoying another dance in the spotlight, we’re launching a new hand-finished, limited edition run in a brand new colourway.
Yours If You Want It launches on Friday 4th November at the Fair, and will be available to buy from our Art Advisors on Stand 244.
The new release will also be available to buy online and from our Brighton gallery. Subscribe to our emails to be notified.
For today’s blog, we chatted to Eelus to learn more about the intentions behind the heartening piece and his own explorations into cultivating a positive outlook.
In a time where it seems that you can’t bat an eyelid without hearing more horrible news, it’s more important than ever to prioritise our mental health, and maintain a positive outlook.
Back when Yours If You Want It was originally released, Eelus described the uplifting image as “a visual reminder that we’re all capable of, and entitled to, happiness. The seeds are there inside us, we just have to make the choice to give them water.”
This important and optimistic message has endured to this day, and the fact that it was selected as the leading image for Manchester Art Fair speaks volumes about what art in its purest form is all about - appreciating beauty, and prioritising what brings us joy.
Yours if You Want It
When chatting to Eelus about the inspiration behind the piece, he pointed towards a quote by Roman Philosopher, Marcus Aurelius, who stated: “The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts”. Lee elaborates:
“I’ve struggled with mental health stuff for years, so it features in my work every now and then. I made the piece as a reminder to myself to make more positive choices as I move through my days. I have ADHD and some of the ways that manifests itself are low self-esteem and an inner critic who's a total arsehole, so it’s often hard for me to keep my thoughts on the more positive end of the spectrum; but with meditation, self-compassion, making art and a bit of therapy, I’ve armed myself with tools to help me improve the quality of my thoughts, which definitely helps with my general happiness.”
Yours If You Want It is an artwork that encourages us to keep our eyes open and try to notice the good things in life, rather than fixating on the bad. Lee reveals:
“When you look at the piece, you might not necessarily notice the smiley face that the clouds make up right away – it’s something that people notice later on as they often get dazzled by the rainbow. The artwork is about making the effort to notice the hidden beauty that’s around. It’s about choosing happiness, trying to keep the quality of your thoughts as high as you can, and choosing to go about your day carrying that sense of happiness with you.”
Over his artistic career, which has spanned more than 20 years, Eelus has established a clear sense of the mindfulness strategies that allow him to keep creating art, and that bring him happiness and a sense of calm.
“We’re all human, so sometimes we choose to doom scroll, or not to do the things we know make us feel better. But we have a choice to limit how much negativity we take in. We have to be vigilant and cultivate a protective barrier around ourselves of people and practices that make us feel good. For me, things like making art, running and meditation are key. If I meditate it makes it easier for me to keep a more positive outlook as I move through the day. I feel like I’ve got more space around me to manoeuvre when challenges crop up. It gives me a nice fluffy buffer that wouldn’t be there if I hadn’t chosen to meditate.”
All the fun of the Fair
We asked Lee how it felt to have Yours If You Want It chosen for the Fair. He tells us:
“It was wonderful. A real surprise! It’s such a positive image and the more positivity we can surround ourselves with at the minute, the better. It’s cool that it’s providing a dose of happiness when the world needs it the most. It’s nice to know that it’s out there being seen by people. I hope that people like it and that it makes them smile.”
“I’m excited to release the piece in a new colourway, which is something I’ve never done before. First time round, it sold out really quickly and there were a lot of people that missed out. Hopefully this time around they can get their hands on one for a nice price point, and I’m happy to be able to offer that.”
Yours If You Want It will be available to buy online and at Manchester Art Fair from Friday 4th November. Get your free tickets with code 22MAFWKD here.