At a parents meeting in 1969 when I was eight years old, my junior school teacher Mrs.Knight asked my parents a searching question - ‘Is anyone in your family artistic?’ Although intrigued they both could not recall anyone on either side of my family ever having any artistic ability and so could not throw light on why my teacher thought I had a creative streak. It is still a mystery to this day.
Although I was very average at most school subjects I relished the chance to paint and draw in the art classes. At a time when most teachers and pupils didn’t take art classes very seriously I would arrive early for the lesson and make sure everyone had paper and pencils ready and all the powder paints were topped up and ready to go. This was so no painting time was wasted with children mucking around and I could enjoy a full afternoon being creative.
I look back with regret that art was not encouraged when I moved to my comprehensive school in Leeds in the early 1970’s and this sadly contributed to my failing to get a place at art college when I left school in 1978.
I was however aware that anyone lucky enough to posses any artistic ability should never waste such a wonderful opportunity, so I was more determined than ever to somehow become a professional artist one day.
After leaving school I worked as a fork lift truck driver for 10 years. During this time I worked part time as a freelance card designer with major publishing companies until I finally had the confidence to go full time in 1990.
With only a certain amount of ability and being completely self taught I am proud to say that I have just celebrated my 20th year as a full time professional artist. In that time I have worked and exhibited in New York, designed figurines in Thailand and ceramics for Wedgwood featuring one of my teddy bear characters.
In March 2010 I decided to enter the fine art market and approached Washington Green with a selection of whimsical animal paintings. Since joining them I feel I have already progressed as an artist and look forward to the exciting challenges ahead.
I hope that this inspires others never to give up when times get tough and my story proves you really make dreams can come true.