He's all art

Merton backs sculptor friend

Paul Merton has become an old-fashioned patron of the arts, offering his financial backing to a sculptor.

The comic agreed to sponsor Robert Conybear, giving him the cash to enable him to put on an exhibition.

It will be the Welsh artist’s first solo show after three decades producing artwork for public spaces.

Conybear met Merton at  the Swansea Fringe Festival 25 years ago, when the young comic was performing and Conybear was an administrator. And they have remained friends ever since remained friends.

Conybear said: "Patronage and sponsorship is important. This time it's sponsorship from a comedian to a fine artist, which is almost unheard of.

He told the Western Mail: "Paul has always been a keen supporter of my work but this is the first time he's actually putting his name behind me.

"Without his support I wouldn't be able to do this work. It means that I can now be a full-time artist for the next year or so and concentrate on the exhibition."

Merton added: ""We came up with the idea that I could produce Rob's showand give him financial independence so that he would be able to do the work he wanted to do.

And he told the BBC: "It's a chance for Rob not to have any financial worries for the next couple of years and really go for his art.

"I've become an old fashioned patron of the arts. I think Tchaikovsky had someone similar - 'go out and write the music and I'll pay the bills'."


Published: 22 Jan 2005

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