The latest stories, straight to your inbox

The latest stories, straight to your inbox

Be inspired every day with Living North

Subscribe today and get every issue delivered direct to your door
Subscribe Now
Be inspired every day with Living North
Inside Morpeth's New Scandi-Inspired Gallery
Places to go
May 2024
Reading time 4 Minutes

A new Scandi-inspired contemporary gallery has opened its doors in the bustling and charming market town of Morpeth

We went down to Fika Gallery to check it out.

Fika Gallery, owned by mixed-media artist Jonathan Antony, houses both a contemporary exhibition space (showcasing emerging and renowned artists from the North East and beyond) and a vibrant coffee shop where customers can enjoy artisanal coffee and treats from the iconic Pink Lane Bakery. Artworks by talents ranging from Tom Maley, the renowned local sculptor, to Lawrie Hutcheon, headline artist at The Affordable Art Fair in Battersea, are all on display and available to purchase. Its location next to the clock tower ensures that Fika is at the heart of Morpeth’s thriving community, to be enjoyed by both locals and visitors to the town.

In Swedish, the word Fika refers to the moment that you take a break, often with a cup of coffee paired with a pastry. You can do it alone, you can do it with friends. You can do it at home, in a park or at work. But the essential thing is that you do it, that you slow down and enjoy the moment. This is a custom deeply ingrained in Swedish culture, and Jonathan hopes to bring it to the gallery. So, forget IKEA and ABBA, FIKA are the four most important letters you need to know in Sweden and Morpeth!

We spoke to Jonathan to find out more.

Tell me a bit about yourself.
I was born in Ryton and grew up in the North East. I’ve always had a career in the design and building industry so that’s where my artistic journey began, and where my interest in working with large format pieces came from. Me, my wife and our two girls have lived in Northumberland now for 24 years, and we absolutely love the place!

What made you get into art?
Pursuing a career in art had not actually been an intention of mine. However, during the first Covid lockdown I realised that there may be a prolonged period of time with very little to do. I took a bold leap and with a few helping hands, I built a small studio in the back corner of my garden and it all started from there.

How would you describe the artwork you create?
I work mainly with large format pieces. My style has evolved from when I first started my career three years ago, however my ‘go to’ materials that underpin the majority of my work are concrete, metal, glass and ink. To characterise my work in three words, I would say contemporary, structured and (hopefully) thought-provoking.

What’s your inspiration?
My father was a hugely-talented amateur artist and I grew up in an environment where art was a constant topic of conversation and influence. One of my pieces is titled ‘Hyperphantasia’, a word which I relate to my late father’s ability. By that, I mean if you asked me to draw a horse I could do a decent job from an image or seeing a horse in real-time, my father however could draw an amazing horse from the picture in his mind.

Where is your artwork sold currently?
I’ve been lucky enough to sell my art in more than 40 countries worldwide, from the United States to Singapore, which is crazy to me. However, I mainly sell my works in Europe. I can almost tell where a piece is going to go before I get the address depending on what the piece looks like.

What’s your favourite piece you’ve created?
What a tough question to answer! I don’t think I have any particular favourite pieces of work. I learn something from each piece and yet, when I’m done, it’s gone and I’m thinking about the next one. I was once commissioned to produce a landmark sculpture to depict the heritage of North East mining. The piece featured stainless steel columns and polished concrete drill heads on a grand scale. Some months later, I re-visited the sculpture to find it had been vandalised and was no longer the shiny monument I had last seen. I was mortified, but as time has passed the violations have actually given the piece some sort of on-going soul.

Tell me about the new gallery.
I have always liked the idea of opening a gallery, and opening one in Morpeth felt like the perfect fit. The building I chose was previously an estate agents, offering a lot of space for an open-plan gallery. With my background in building and architecture, I was able to take a hands-on approach, designing the space how I wanted. It’s still an ongoing process to get it just right, but me and my team are all driven by passion and determination, so I believe we’re heading in the right direction.

After much anticipation, we opened our doors on the 16th of March. We were thrilled to see so many friendly faces walking through the doors and by the warm reception we received from the local community and beyond. We’re very lucky to be situated right next to Morpeth’s Clock Tower and the expansive glass windows flood the space with heaps of natural light which provides a wonderful setting to showcase the art. Fika also houses a stylish coffee shop, selling quality coffee and the iconic Pink Lane Bakery baked goods. In Swedish, the term ‘Fika’ translates to ‘a moment to slow down and appreciate the good things in life’, which I think perfectly captures the essence of what I hope Fika is and becomes for people – a space where they can pause, savour the moment, and appreciate the simple joys in life!

Why is now the time for you to open a gallery?
I’ve been lucky enough to showcase at various art fairs across the UK and now feel confident in the stage of my career where I’d like not only to present my works but also the work of other talented artists. Leveraging my background in building and design, I am confident in my ability to craft the ideal space for this endeavour, shaping Fika into a vibrant hub in the North East for artistic expression.

Whose work can we expect to see at Fika Gallery?
We have some very talented artists’ works on show here which is very exciting. Among them is Tom Maley, a remarkable local sculptor whose journey, like mine, encompasses a background in design and architecture. Tom’s portfolio boasts commissioned landmark sculptures across the North East. Also gracing Fika’s walls is Ruth Bond, a gifted oil painter from Northumberland, whose works evoke a profound sense of beauty and emotion. We have work by Lucy Storrs, a textile artist who I met at an art fair in London. Lucy’s craft with sheep’s wool is nothing short of captivating, offering a unique twist to her work. We are also delighted to feature the vibrant pieces of Lawrie Hutcheon, the current headline artist at The Affordable Art Fair in Battersea, as well as a diverse array of very well respected local artists.

What do you hope for the future of Fika?
One goal I have is to become a space that gives back to the community in a meaningful way. I envision Fika evolving into more than just a space for art and leisure. Rather, a dynamic hub that actively contributes to the wellbeing and enrichment of the community. From hosting art workshops and exhibitions to collaborating with local creatives, I want Fika to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those we connect with. I am also in the process of applying for an alcohol licence with the hope that in time, we can welcome customers in the evenings for a tipple.

Quick-Fire Questions

Your favourite thing about living and working in the North East?
The landscapes and the people have become integral to my artistic journey. Me and my wife met in the North East and it’s where we decided to start a family which adds a deeply personal layer to the narrative of the location of Fika.

Best advice for budding artists?
My advice for budding artists would be if you’re unhappy with a piece, take a moment to explore it from a fresh perspective. The beauty of art lies in the ability to find inspiration in anything and everything around you!

Three things you could not live without?
Family, Newcastle United and wine.

1-3 Oldgate, Morpeth

If you’d be interested in showcasing your works at Fika Gallery, please get in touch via or follow @fikagallerymorpeth on Instagram

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.

Please read our Cookie policy.