This is a story about a man and a boot...

I first began to notice Gary Hume’s work when I stumbled across an exhibition of his at the Tate Britain a few years ago. I was immediately struck by the simplicity and bold use of colour in his paintings that really caught and held my attention. I remember finding his work aesthetically appealing with an almost alluring quality to it, perhaps due to his seductive use of glossy colour, or perhaps his use of complex, interweaving lines to represent such simplified forms. They somehow seemed to contain a feeling of melancholy in their fluidity and beauty. Ever since that first exhibition I became a big fan, following his work from time to time.

Months later I found myself at a friends 18th birthday party, tucking into some nibbles and some bubbly, when Gary Hume came up in conversation with a friend of mine who is a bit of an arty type too. Suddenly the birthday boy piped up “Are you talking about Gary Hume? He’s my uncle, and he’s over in the barn having drinks with my parents. You can go and meet him if you like!” Now of course our natural reaction was “yeah yeah, whatever, how would we not already know this if it were true…”, when we found ourselves being dragged over to the barn, up the stairs, through the door…and there he was! I was totally star-struck. I always thought I’d be able to think of some really good question if I ever met someone famous who I really admire, but no, not this time. I vaguely remember babbling like an idiot, although I think the champagne may have had something to do with it! So we chatted for a bit and in the end he very sweetly signed his painting boots which he had brought with him straight from his studio: ‘Gary Hume painted in these’ and gave us one each. I remember thinking how generous it was, although maybe had something to do with his consumption of champagne too! So we joked about how he’d probably wake up in the morning and wonder where they were…and then left, still quite shocked at what had just happened! It was really fantastic to meet such a prominent figure in the art world and realise that as well as such an innovative artist, he was also a really lovely and down-to-earth man. I still sometimes look at the boot and wonder if it would be possible to match up the blobs of paint with the paintings they came from. So far I have had no success!

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