How did you become an artist & when?These are questions some people ask. The answer isn’t always straight forward but I’ll do my best to explain.
THE EARLY YEARS
At school I had a pull toward the more creative subjects. Although I enjoyed English language & literature, my real loves were art and woodwork. It was my first realization of the rewarding feeling you got from creating something. I went on to study art and woodwork and achieved O level in both.
THE NEXT STEP
When I was 16 there were some good opportunities for apprenticeships which was the encouraged way to go. I remember applying for job’s not expecting to get them but hoping to gain experience in interviews. One of these interviews was for the trade I ended up in until about 11 years ago, a gas service engineer. I was offered the apprenticeship and I took it.
WHERE DID THE ART GO?
Life took me on a different route to the one I might have preferred but the trade I had chosen was steady and it taught me all round skills which would benefit me through life. Marriage and family also came along and the art I had so loved was pushed to the back of the store cupboard, but not forever.
After about 25 years of scrabbling round under people’s gas boilers, lifting heavy appliances, crawling through awkward loft spaces and contorting my body under floorspaces, my back and knees were in revolt. I had to find another way to make a living. What about something arty?
I remember doing a lot of research on current popular trends. It was a time of recycling and using discarded materials so I decided to try my hand at making mirrors from driftwood. This led to making furniture items from recycled wood and driftwood found from endless reconnaissance missions. Before long I started painting boats on old bits of wood using any old household paint I could find.
THE TURNING POINT & MY RETURN TO ART
One day someone bought the painting I had done on an old scrap of drift plywood. I remember feeling more delighted over this than from selling anything else. It was then that I realised I wanted to return to the art I had so loved at school.
I gradually moved away from using house paints and scraps of wood to finer materials and I honed my methods of creating art.
PRESENT & FUTURE
My artwork has now become my trade after a 25 year detour. I’m selling work internationally and running it as a business although there is still far to go. My only artistic academic qualification is O level art but I don’t need any other labels to produce my work. I will carry on making art for as long as I’m able using expression and passion as my qualifications.
So to the question, “how did you become an artist?”, I would have to answer: “by having a love for it from my younger years, a love that is prepared to let it go, knowing it would come back through at some point in my life”. And “when?” Well I don’t think anyone can ever answer that one!
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