Art & Design. What an all encompassing title. It can mean anything from paintings to pottery to furniture design. I spent several years studying all sorts of things under that title from photography, printmaking, graphics to pottery. It was pottery in the end which finally won and I went on to complete a degree in ceramics at UWIC in Cardiff. That seems rather fitting considering I’m from Staffordshire and grew up in the shadow of pot banks of which only a few remain.
My love of art & design has never diminished. Over the years I have found it particularly irksome encountering people who feel the need to tell you to get a real job. One of the repetitive jibes owing to many. I think if you are talented and skilled in a particular field why do something different and spend the rest of your life wishing you hadn’t. I enjoy all sorts of different types of art and design and given the opportunity would like to get into the habit again of pursuing personal work alongside my design work for clients. After all that’s what I set out to do by going back to university. Like everything though it’s a balancing act and other work sometimes has to take priority.
One of my favourite artists is from the expressionist movement and was part of Der Blaue Reiter, his name Franz Marc. His paintings are bright and full of meaning and abstraction. His animals appeal partly because of my love of the natural environment and partly because they are so expressive and colourful. I would love to visit his paintings in the flesh and spend some time just sitting and absorbing them. I also particularly particularly enjoy Georgia O’Keef’s gorgeous flower paintings and Mark Hearld’s beautiful work inspired by nature.
I love to visit museums and art galleries. The Henry Moore Institute in Leeds is a great place and has an excellent book collection. When I lived in Staffordshire the museum at Hanley was an outstanding place to visit and quite large. I could spend hours wandering round the collections and it has some of the best ceramics in the UK. There are also some great galleries to visit in North Yorkshire. The saltbox in Helmsley has a huge variety of work from different artists whilst the Moors National Park Centre in Danby has an ever changing programme. Scarborough and Whitby also have a vibrant art scene with plenty of galleries and museums to explore. One event which happens here around June and July is the open studios where you can visit artists in their studio and buy their work if you desire. A interesting way to view the landscape and meet the people who make the work.