Simon Buttimore – ‘A Man Apart’

A Man Apart

Simon Buttimore

9 September - 9 October 2016


The Sayle Gallery is pleased to be presenting a new exhibition in fond memory of one of the island’s well known characters, Simon Buttimore, who sadly passed away earlier this year. The exhibition will be a reflection of Simon’s extraordinary lifestyle and his creativity. It will showcase a wide range of Simon’s own artworks and collections, shared by those who loved and admired him, and his work. Simon believed wholeheartedly in the value of art provision in general and in the Sayle Gallery in particular and did much to support the gallery’s work. The exhibition will run from the 9th of September to the 9th of October 2016 at the Sayle Gallery, Douglas.

Simon spent his formative years on the Isle of Man. After a brief spell in London, he returned to the Isle of Man where he lived and worked. Simon spent some time living with artist, David Gilbert, on his wonderful farm in Kirk Michael. David and his wife Sheila’s farm is fondly remembered by a number of young people who were welcomed to spend time there in the creative haven it formed.

Simon went on to form his own creative haven at the relatively cut off, Ballafrog in Lezayre. Here he lived a lifestyle which was largely, ‘off the grid’, creating a place for himself, his horses and for the many friends who needed to retreat to his haven of peace and tranquility.

Simon devoted much time to becoming a good horseman. His horses roamed freely around his land and they and Simon became a familiar sight as he drove them around in an array of horse drawn vehicles which Simon had either built or restored himself. Traditional gypsy caravans can still be found around the Island, most of which were built by Simon. In the 1990’s Simon could often be seen driving the Bushy’s dray around Douglas. This is perhaps ironic, as in later life Simon became teetotal.

One of Simon's Cottages at Ballafrog.
Photo Courtesy of Simon Park Photography.

Simon's 'Dome' at Ballafrog, where he would work on his wood carvings.
Photo Courtesy of Simon Park Photography.

Simon was a talented musician as well as a visual artist. He played regularly in bands, perhaps most notably in, The Bar Toads, alongside his brother Anglin. Simon also composed his own music often to provide a soundtrack for his art practice in the form of film making and animation. Simon’s films will form part of his tribute exhibition and will also be shown at a special film night in the gallery on the 16thAugust at 7.30pm. The film nights at the gallery were a series of events that Simon initiated and ran up until his untimely death. They continue to be run by two of his friends in his honour.

As well as being an accomplished art film maker, Simon produced art works in many other forms. His skilled wood carvings can be found in private ownership across the Island and beyond. These range from small pieces to large fire surrounds or even whole trees such as the sculptural pieces at Bishopscourt and Cooil Darry Glen. Several pieces have been kindly loaned to the gallery for his tribute exhibition.

Simon actively supported the arts on the the Isle of Man all his life. In the 1990’s he was part of ‘Arts in Mann’ alongside artists such as Norman Sayle and Maurice Day and was the only member of the group who could coax the old bus (which was the travelling gallery) into life and to its next point of call. Simon was regularly involved in creative gatherings and celebrations such as the Beltane event in Sulby Glen. Many people knew and loved Simon the eccentric, kind, supportive, creative man and respected his ‘alternative’ thinking and view of the world. He was a larger than life, unique character that enriched his Island home. The Isle of Man is a poorer place without such a person. He truly was ‘A Man Apart’…

Photographs and Horse Tack, for 'A Man Apart'

Cart Wheels, part of 'A Man Apart'

Reconstruction of a section from the 'Dome', inside of the Gallery.

A Man Apart will run at the Sayle Gallery until Sunday 9th October, and has is presented with the kind support of Simon's family and friends, and the Isle of Man Arts Council.

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