Artistic and magical couple choose ‘vibrant’ Blackpool to grow their UK and international ventures
Jen Allen, hailed as one of the UK’s most exciting young artists by critics of the fine art scene and her partner Jay Fortune, an internationally acclaimed magician, furniture designer and entrepreneur, have recently moved to the town to set up their new home and develop their artistic and commercial ventures.
Marilyn in Hollywood
Jen’s artwork is in high demand with international collectors including celebrities and legends in the music and film industries. One of her impressive Marilyn Monroe originals hangs in the office of a major Hollywood director at Universal Studios. She has painted four royal portraits by commission for the Saudi royal family, exhibited in over 70 high-street galleries across the UK and has worldwide collectors.
Jay has created Marvin’s Magic School, the world’s largest online magic tuition school, ‘a digital Hogwarts for beginners,’ he says. He has also managed Britain’s Got Talent finalists, co-created festivals, written and produced touring shows and performed worldwide to stars of stage and screen.
Jay, who also manages his long-time partner Jen, contacted the business support team at Blackpool Council prior to relocating to discuss how they might develop their businesses. He commented: “My initial contact with the team was so positive and we were extremely encouraged to learn more about the free advice and support that was available to us. Before and since our move we have received valuable information and guidance.”
Since working with Blackpool Council’s business team the couple have been helped to identify potential sources of funding and investment. They have also been introduced to the North West International Trade Team who they are now liaising with to explore opportunities in Los Angeles and New York. The aim is to distribute Jen’s work and Jay’s new furniture range ‘Wundre’ which combines magic and art into high-end design and statement pieces of furniture. They have also attended various advice sessions and a free workshop to help them understand more about exporting.
When asked why Blackpool? Jay said: “Having lived in London, Bournemouth, Bristol, Devon and Hertfordshire, we did an exhaustive search of the country for the most active art communities and positive-thinking councils. Blackpool came out top. We’ve been coming here for years and love the vibe, sense of creativity, enthusiasm for embracing the arts and practical business support.
“Having dealt with many councils and come up against wall after wall of pessimism and box-tickers it was refreshing to speak with Blackpool Council. We are looking to grow that relationship as we begin expanding our existing businesses and work on developing new ventures within Blackpool.”
Cllr Mark Smith, Cabinet Member Responsible for Regeneration, Enterprise and Economic Development, said: “It is always goods news when talented artists and passionate business people choose to locate in Blackpool. It creates a dynamic community.
“Our business support team work really hard to help both start-up and developing companies in the town. I wish the couple every happiness in their new home and all the very best for their ventures both in the UK and internationally.”
Jen is equally excited by the creative vibe in Blackpool, she added: “Being an artist is often a solitary job, spending hours in your studio day after day creating. I have already become enthused by the diverse range of arts and artists in Blackpool and the continued positivity of the council’s business team.”
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