Eccles artist Audrey Pollitt can count Hollywood superstars Johnny Depp and Robert Pattinson among her fans.
Audrey, a volunteer at Eccles Community Art Gallery has given her work to both celebrities after showcasing it locally.
With the gallery preparing to celebrate its 10th anniversary, Audrey explains how it gave her confidence and inspired her to develop her talent although she had to wait until her retirement to take it up seriously. She said:
“Something that I always wanted to do was paint.”
At just 15 years old Audrey had hopes of attending art school, yet her father’s wishes for her to earn her own money meant that her art career was forced to take a back seat.
During her breaks at work, Audrey would sketch film star photographs printed in magazines but even her art as a hobby was cut short when she formed her family. Finally she said, as she headed for retirement:
“I decided to just try and do a few paintings and I was a fan of Johnny Depp.”
After her retirement Audrey did what she said she would do and continued with her art, having developed an interest in Hollywood superstar Johnny Depp.
After meeting Karen Illingworth, founder of Eccles Community Art Gallery, Audrey presented her with a number of paintings.
“She said, well I like the Johnny Depp ones we’ll put those up.”
Audrey travelled to London shortly after presenting the gallery with her art. She met up with a number of Johnny Depp fans in the city who she had developed friendships with.
“We’d meet up whenever there was a premiere and he signed the paintings I offered him.”
After attending multiple premieres of newly released films starring Johnny Depp, Audrey used this as an opportunity to offer the Hollywood actor her paintings.
Depp had even stopped to sign a number of her paintings.
One of Audrey Pollitt's paintings – see it and more in our new exhibition – starts today ! pic.twitter.com/5eqqbLJf
— EcclesCommArtGallery (@ArtsInEccles) October 20, 2012
“One particular time always makes me laugh because I said would you sign it for my grandsons, and then I said my grandsons not yours and he laughed and he said our grandsons, I said alright then.”
The trips to London became more regular as premieres took place and Audrey would travel down to the Capital City to preview her new paintings to the Hollywood royalty.
My first and only self portrait – showing off because of who took this selfie ? pic.twitter.com/1Hxx9w7Z0A
— Audrey Pollitt (@maybird36) February 21, 2017
“I became quite known because everybody that was there were all teenagers and young people, and it was like I’m an old lady stuck in the middle of this lot.”
Despite the busy crowds of crazed fans, Depp’s bodyguard took care of Audrey and would ensure she was comfortable among the chaos.
Twilight star Robert Pattinson was her next target. She said:
“I became a fan of Twilight, and I met all the girls and the same thing happened again.”
So she took the familiar trip to London again only this time to meet Pattinson.
She presented the Twilight actor with a number of her paintings that she had put together in a portfolio-style artists pad.
Audrey continued with her art and was later asked to paint an image of a baby named Scarlett by a woman who had said it was her friend’s grandchild.
After meeting up with the group in London at a premiere in winter last year she was introduced to Scarlett’s father, musician Sam Bradley.
“She said, oh this is the lady that did the painting of Scarlett, so he said, What’s your name? So I told him and he said, oh yes Rob’s told me all about you and I thought yes!”
Pattinson then went on to star in a new film, High Life, with Scarlett.
Audrey thanks Eccles Community Art Gallery and its founder, Karen Illingworth, for allowing her the platform to display her artwork to the public. She said:
“It’s made my life different, and it all stemmed from Karen giving me the first courage to exhibit my work.”
She is now a regular volunteer at the gallery and continues to exhibit her paintings. She said:
“Through listening to all the other artists and through giving me little tips here and there i’ve just come on in leaps and bounds.”
After sadly losing her husband when she was 69, Audrey took up painting as a regular hobby when she turned 72.
She claims that the gallery has given her a “different life” since the loss of her husband. She said:
“Some days I don’t feel like getting up to come, but once I’m here it’s amazing!”