Simon Wright, illustrator turned fine-artist

Simon Wright, illustrator turned fine-artist

When he was just 15, Simon Wright took a trip to the National Gallery in London’s Trafalgar Square, and found himself transfixed by a 15th-century portrait of a lady.

“She was wearing this sort of lace headwear, and I just could not believe how amazing the lace was,” he recalls now. “Then I walked right up to her, and suddenly the lace was just a series of random, almost uncontrolled, marks. But when I got further away again, it revealed itself to be this incredible, finely detailed, work. “It was almost like a magic trick, and I’m always striving for that – you see a magic trick, and then you see how they do the trick, and you think, ‘ah, that’s how it’s done’.

With painting, I’m always trying to do something new and when you figure out how to actually do it, it’s such a big thrill, working out how you can make these marks to give the effect you’re after. “And then you think, ‘ah, I’ve got that now – now I need to figure out the next way of working’. It’s a process of wanting to constantly better yourself as an artist. “Whenever I’m in a gallery I’m never looking at a painting from 10 feet away – I’m the one who’s 10 inches away, really studying it, looking at how it’s made, what colours they’ve used, what techniques.”

That hunger to keep moving, learning and evolving has become the West Yorkshire artist’s trademark. The former illustrator-turned-fine-artist first became well known for his sensitive portraits of animals, but even they didn’t follow a set format, ranging from the very traditional to the very contemporary. And now he’s moved on again – the work that Artmarket Gallery customers can expect to see is as far removed from animal portraits as it’s possible to be: lively depictions of some of the world’s greatest cities, some almost impressionistic, others clearly influenced by his background in illustration. “I’ve done cityscapes for a while now, in various styles – some are almost Turner-esque; others are in bright, bold colours,” he says. “Every time I approach it differently: it keeps me motivated, and once I’ve achieved one style, I can move onto something else, then maybe return to that first style further down the road with fresh eyes and vigour.

“This particular work I’m doing at the moment, it’s cityscapes and I’m trying to get a bit of a sense of chaos – I put the paint on thick, it’s a sort of beautiful mess. When you stand back, you can see it represents a particular scene, but get up close, and it looks as though it’s been thrown on. It’s that which captivates me.”  But while Simon gets a real kick out of trying something new, there’s an even bigger high to be aimed for. “The biggest thrill of all is when someone likes your work,” he says. “When you’re painting, you’re all alone in your studio in your own little bubble, with no idea whether anyone’s going to like what you’re doing. It’s such a great feeling when people respond in such a positive way.”

You can view Simons full collection of original artwork.

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