Sheffield Artist Graham Clark
Sheffield artist Graham Clark has very kindly agreed to appear on our Fellow Sheffield Creative’s feature, and although he wasn’t born in Sheffield, he now calls Sheffield his home, and thats good enough for us!
Graham’s work has a lovely natural, flowing style, conjuring up all the emotions of actually “being there”. In the Whitby paintings you can almost smell the sea, hear the seagulls and taste the fish and chips.
Volta: Who or what inspired you to do what you do?
Graham: At school, It was plain to see that I wasn’t going to become an academic, my maths teacher once said to me “Don’t waste my time Clark, get yourself to the art room!” While my art teacher encouraged and inspired me to do well. I often came top in my year group, so I guess that’s where it all began. Art was a subject I seemed to thrive in, dexterous skills with instant results that can be seen and understood by most.
Volta: Were you self-taught or have you had training?
Graham: I didn’t achieve sufficient qualifications at school to be accepted onto the pre-diploma course at art college. My portfolio of work however, was sufficient for me to enroll on the graphic design course, where I gained a ‘distinction’ in graphics and illustration. So in reality, I didn’t receive any formal training in art, I would say I was self-taught.
Volta: How did your current style develop and how do you see it developing in the future?
Graham: My style (if indeed I have one), has been influenced and developed with my career in graphics, paying particular attention to detail. I also studied technical graphics, 3 point perspective, exploded views of engines and architecture. Therefore I learnt to understand form and structure and with my background in illustration I can virtually draw and paint anything, in most styles and mediums, from oils, acrylic, pastel, watercolour to mixed media. I would like to develop a much looser style to become more impressionistic rather than representational. I have been known to venture into abstract work, which was fun!
Volta: What influence has living in Sheffield had on your creativity and how you approach your work?
Graham: The landscape surrounding Sheffield is beyond compare, I live in the village of Oughtibridge with farmland behind and a valley of woodland to the front, we enjoy walking through wonderful landscapes which I am sure influences my work. I believe Sheffield is the greenest city in Europe, I particularly love ‘the edges’, such as Stanage. In contrast I’m drawn to the fishing villages of the east coast and love marine subjects.
Volta: Why did you settle in Sheffield?
Graham: I settled in Sheffield because that is where I met my wife. I’m from Doncaster originally but often visited the Sheffield area to explore its wonderful countryside and now can enjoy it every day. Also Sheffield has a great hub of creative people with arts events throughout the year, some of which I partake in from time to time.
Volta: What piece of your own work gives you the most satisfaction and why?
Graham: It’s difficult for me to choose any particular piece of work that gives me the most satisfaction, each one has its own challenges, struggles, qualities. I think most artists would agree that they are never satisfied with their work. I always believe I can do better, that’s what drives us forward, to create something better than what’s gone before. It’s a continuous journey, with so much to explore, discover and be excited about, always striving to reach ones full potential.
Volta: Do other areas of creativity have any influence on your work?
Graham: I love music in all its forms but I prefer to work in silence and absorb the scene before me without any distraction. I do however, in my spare time, look at and admire many other artists work from around the world, too many to mention here.
Volta: If you could lay claim to one piece of creative work in any area what would it be and why?
Graham: If I had to lay claim to one piece of creative work, it would probably be a watercolour, ‘Reflections on the Beck’ at Staithes. Because watercolour in its purest form is so unforgiving. The ‘white’ and highlights in the work is the paper alone, in other words, without the use of any ‘body colour’, there is nowhere for an artist to hide.
Volta: What is your favourite thing about Sheffield?
Graham: My favourite thing about Sheffield… the many, many wonderful trees.
Volta: What advice would you give an aspiring fellow artist who was wanting to break through to the next level?
Graham: It depends on what level that might be and what style of painting you want to master…my advice would be to get the basics right first, if you can’t draw or capture what’s in front of you with any accuracy or create a good composition, then whatever follows is bound to fail. Most of all, I would say be daring, take risks, never be afraid to make mistakes…be tenacious!
Sheffield Artist Graham Clark
Want to find out a little more about Sheffield Artist Graham Clark and his work?
Here are links to his website and social media channels – enjoy!
View our previous Fellow Sheffield Creatives