An artist who has painted portraits for the Saudi royal family has joined forces with her partner – a magician – to set up shop in Blackpool.
Fine artist Jen Allen and Jay Fortune, a magician, furniture designer and entrepreneur, have recently moved to the the resort to work with the town’s artistic community.
One of Jen’s paintings of Marilyn Monroe 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 and has exhibited in more than 70 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.
The couple contacted the business support team at Blackpool Council prior to relocating to discuss how they might develop their businesses.
Jay said: “Before and since our move we have received valuable information and guidance.”
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 furniture.
Jay said: “Having lived in London, Bournemouth, Bristol, Devon and Hertfordshire, 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.”
Coun Mark Smith, cabinet member responsible for regeneration, enterprise and Eeconomic development, said: “It is always goods news when talented artists and passionate business people choose to locate in Blackpool.”