How We Met: Angela Flowers and Andrew Logan

Kay Marles
Saturday 02 April 1994 23:02 BST

Angela Flowers, 61, has two galleries in east London, one in central London and one in Ireland, in which she shows the work of more than 30 contemporary artists. Her first husband was the photographer Adrian Flowers; she now lives with the writer Robert Heller. She has five children.

Andrew Logan, artist, sculptor and jeweller, is 48. Creator of the Alternative Miss World shows, he opened his Museum of Sculpture in Berriew in Wales in 1991. He lives and works in London, where his portraits of Zandra Rhodes and Lynn Seymour are in the National Portrait Gallery.

ANGELA FLOWERS: Andrew and I met when he was taken on as an errand boy by the ICA. It was April 1968. I was working there as a bookkeeper for a couple of months, a totally unsuitable job because I am hopeless with figures. But I was between babies and had offered my services to a friend who worked for the then director. I was there for about two months. Andrew was doing an equally unsuitable job, going around with packets of photographs.

We became friends immediately. At lunchtimes we would walk across St James's Park to hear the brass band playing. He made a striking impression from the start, always wearing bright colours and extraordinary clothes. He was beautiful and amusing and made me feel good. Now I find that his face is becoming even more beautiful as his hairline recedes.

One day, my 10-year-old son Daniel came and had a picnic lunch with us in the park and took a photograph of him. He asked him where he got his odd clothes from, and Andrew told him they were all from jumble sales.

Andrew is my opposite in many ways, and I really admire his qualities, which are so different from mine, while knowing I can never emulate them. I am raucous and not terribly spiritual. I have never been to India and the beautiful places he's been to. I don't care what I eat. I cook in a haphazard, rich way. I drink gin and tonic. He would cook his vegetables in a steamer and would never drink spirits. He is surrounded by flamboyance - I am not his only raucous friend: there is Molly Parkin, too, and Zandra Rhodes - but he is spiritual in a way which appeals to me.

For a while we didn't see each other, and then he started exhibiting, and I opened my gallery. That meant that we met in a different context. He was an artist and I was a gallery owner. He used to give me pieces of his work and I would also buy. I took my mother to one of his first exhibitions and she bought me a treated teapot for pounds 50.

Every year on my birthday he gives me marvellous presents. I wouldn't dream of having a party or marking a special occasion without him being there. He's such a joy to have around - he looks so wonderful, and he's so nice and friendly.

I still buy his work. I recently bought a huge elephant he'd made, from the Commonwealth Institute, and I always wear his jewellery. Now at openings you hardly see anyone who isn't wearing one of his pieces of jewellery.

Once we went on a motorbike ride together around London. I rode pillion, the only time I've ever done so. And I must say I felt totally safe. I am sometimes quite nervous. At one of his Alternative Miss Worlds, there was a Miss Statue of Liberty and I was absolutely terrified that her lighted torch was going to set the drapes on fire. And of course it did. There was a small blaze, and I was terrified, but he was so calm. He throws calm around.

Our relationship became difficult about five years ago when I had decided that he was a very important artist and sculptor and wanted to take him in hand, and to get others to see him more seriously. His work is totally individual. I've seen people try to copy it but it's just not the same. He had had a big exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in Oxford, and we said we'd also like to have a big show at Flowers East. But it was impossible to pin him down. Before the show even opened we found that he was doing a display in a window at Selfridges.

But it is impossible to be cross with him for more than two minutes, and that incident hasn't had any lasting effect at all. He is always in my exhibitions. We always ask him and he always wants to be. I am a patron of his museum in Wales, and he came to Ireland and we put his Pegasus sculptures on the hillside and the local people really loved them. In my relationships with other artists I am often known as a wretched mother figure. With him, I am the one more likely to tell him my troubles, and I find that refreshing. I'm not sure he tells me his.

We are old friends now. We developed our careers after we met, and so we have made newer and closer friends since then, but we remain close. We don't feel a great need to see each other all the time, but Andrew is extremely thoughtful and terrifically loyal. If I ask him to do something, I know that he won't let me down.

ANDREW LOGAN: I was newly arrived in London from Oxford and was working at the ICA, running around with pictures and packages for an exhibition about computers and robots called Cybernetic Serendipity. Angela was working in the accounts department. She would have her sandwiches and I had mine and we would eat them together in St James's Park and chat. We've been doing that ever since, sitting and chatting. We talk about everything - work, emotions, relationships, problems. We don't really gossip but we talk about bits of news such as when one of her artists, John Keane, went as the war artist to the Gulf war.

I was immediately attracted to her. From the beginning she struck me as wonderfully warm. She is tall and statuesque, but what really matters is that she has wonderful sparkling eyes and is full of life. I sort of fell in love with her, the way a brother and sister might love each other.

I used to go to her house a lot. At that time she was married to Adrian, and I got to know the children very well. Of course they were little then. But I still see a lot of them now because they are involved in the gallery. Matthew runs it with her, and Dan is married to one of her artists. Her family is very close, just as mine is. She has five children, and I am one of five. My brothers and sisters and I see each other regularly; my family always come to my shows, and very often on for supper afterwards. And we all sit down and have dinner together at Christmas. Angela and I used to sing together at her house. She would play the piano and we would sing Noel Coward duets.

Then for several years I didn't see her. Her marriage was breaking up, she was making a new life for herself and starting her gallery. I used to go to all her openings. But not seeing each other didn't matter at all. The great warmth that attracted me in the beginning never diminishes. She is one of those people who give me the feeling that we've met before in another life. I think that as soon as we met, we recognised and touched something in each other, some shared quality or experience, and that binds us together. I see her regularly now because we are both in the art world. We don't talk much on the phone but we are often at the same parties. I travel a lot and send her postcards from Italy, from Moscow, wherever I happen to be.

One of the best times we spent together was in 1990 at her house and gallery in Ross Carbery in Ireland. She spends as much time there as she can, and holds an exhibition every August. She had invited me to exhibit there, and as part of the show we positioned my two sculptures of Pegasus - huge silver horses with elaborate silver and glass wings - on the brow of a hill just above the house overlooking the Atlantic. It was lovely to see Angela so relaxed and surrounded by everything she likes most - the Irish hills, art, her family and friends. She seemed in seventh heaven, and it was a very special time.

Since the National Portrait Gallery bought two of my portraits last year, I have started plans to do one of Angela. I have not decided whether to do it in two dimensions or three, but if it is to be three she will come here to sit and it will be done with clay. I will do her as I see her, undoubtedly as a kind of earth mother, but above all as somebody with enormous warmth. It is that which I continually return to.

Angela and Matthew did try to represent me once, but it didn't work out. I don't really know why. But it didn't cause any difficulties in our relationship. I admire her too much; nothing is ever difficult with her. What I admire most of all is that she and Matthew really do care about the people they represent. They see art as a human endeavour and take care to nurture and help their artists. In some ways that makes them unique. They don't see works of art as commodities.

In my own life Angela doesn't play the role of a mother figure at all. My mother is still alive and in some ways rather like Angela, very warm and supportive and inspirational. What continues to make the relationship with Angela so valuable is the love and joy that radiate from her. She is someone who loves life and who manages to communicate a wonderful lust for living.-

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