North East Artists to Know Now
Creativity thrived in lockdown, and now it’s time for these local artists to make a colourful comeback as restrictions ease
Through her small business, My Giant Hands Made These, Victoria handmakes functional yet beautifully-artistic ceramics for your home. From mugs to platters (all with a splash of colour), they’re the perfect addition to an art-lover’s dining table.
Find her work at instagram.com/mygianthandsmadethese and send her a message for prices.
Ayrshire-born Alexander has lived in Newcastle for more than 35 years and is one of the UK’s most collectable contemporary artists. He’s also one of the few living artists who have had museum exhibitions in Newcastle, Glasgow and New York – and he sells his work worldwide. You’re sure to have seen his work displayed across our region, including the Angel sculpture at the MetroCentre in Gateshead – a tongue-in-cheek tribute to the Angel of the North. His atmospheric landscapes will transport you to a different era: they capture memories of life in the 50s and 60s, and his delicate brush strokes and tones create the pieces we love.
Find Alexander Millar Fine Art on Newcastle’s Grey Street and Glasgow’s Buchanan Street or head online to alexandermillar.com
Fiona is an award-winning pastel artist based in Shotley Bridge, as well as an associate artist of Northumberland-based Unison Colour. She exhibits her work regularly and was honoured to have her art included in the 121st annual exhibition of The Pastel Society at The Mall Galleries, London in 2020, where she was awarded The 2020 Royal Talens/Rembrandt Award – and she was delighted to have a piece selected for the 2021 exhibition too. Fiona runs art workshops in pastel and drawing in Northumberland and online via her Patreon site.
Find Fiona’s art at fionacarvell.com
Born and bred in the North East, Barrie Watson, a miner’s son, was brought up in Murton Colliery and has lived in Sunderland for the last 30 years. Barrie has always had a creative flair, working as a hair stylist for five years before moving on to work with leading hair brands. A talented cook, he won a place in the BBC MasterChef final in 1997, leading him to take the brave step to open his own high-end catering company and bistro, Prickly Pear, in his hometown. Barrie discovered a new passion during lockdown when he started painting to fill in time and as an outlet for his creativity. His relaxed abstract work with acrylic paint is full of emotion and drama, using metal leaf gilding, which gives his paintings a 3D feeling and, in his words, ‘bling’.
While he sets his website up, keep an eye on instagram.com/barriewatsonart – and don’t forget his work is now being displayed in the North East Art Collective.
John Mclean Storey
John’s talented artwork explores the shapes and textures of the North East coast – think rocks, sand and ruins. His prints, paintings and mixed media constructions reimagine these structures with charcoal, paint and clay to create amazingly abstract art. His Northumbria collection of works are the best reflection of these unique textures.
See John’s work and contact him through his website at johnmcleanstorey.co.uk
Based in Newcastle, Julia produces a wide range of domestic and interior pieces in ceramics – involving wheel throwing, hand-building and casting. It’s her colourful decoration that makes her work instantly recognisable though. Expect vibrant patterns and glittering finishes from her handmade artwork – think exuberant lamps, candlesticks and teapots.
Julia’s work is in many private collections and is available in several galleries, including Dennis Kilgallon Gallery and North East Art Collective, and by commission. Visit juliaroxburghceramics.co.uk to browse online.
Julie is a sea glass artist based in Northumberland and visits the coast to beach comb for sea glass – something
she says is just as enjoyable for her now, as it was as a child growing up in Devon. She started making sea glass gifts for her friends and family and was later inspired and encouraged to create a business from her hobby. As well as taking part in the Designer Makers Market events, held annually at Leyburn, Barnard Castle and Hexham, Julie has also exhibited at the Harrogate Flower Show and our own Living North events.
Find Julie’s work at Hexham Abbey Gift Shop, Hats and Glad Rags in Northumberland, The Sandra Parker Studio, Barnard Castle and online at happydanceseaglass.co.uk – as well as Living North’s Christmas Fair this October.
North Shields-based Gail is a truly inspirational artist. She had been working as an artist since 2014, mostly with fabric and fibre as a felt maker, but in 2017, while she was being treated for severe post traumatic stress disorder, an urge to paint overtook her. Sadly, Gail lost her speech after a violent mugging in January 2018 and during lockdown, while isolating, Gail painted 104 pieces of art: one each day for 20 minutes. She’s been selling these colourful creations under her ‘Just Another Day’ online exhibition to fund her ongoing therapy to help manage her mental health and cope with life without speech. We’ve been loving sending out greetings cards made from this artwork to our family and friends.
Kate Van Suddese
Kate has been painting for more than 25 years, using oil on canvas to create her distinctive seascapes. Each of her series of works informs the next, and inspiration for her work comes from the dramatic North East coastline, the west coast of Scotland and the Cornish coastline. She is also a member of Network Artists North East.
Find Kate’s work on display at Tynemouth Market, and see her new work as soon as it is completed at katevansuddese.com
Karen launched her business, KT Heart Art, following the death of her sister Claire. They both had matching heart tattoos so she puts a heart into every piece she creates. Last year, Karen (from Penshaw) raised more than £400 for frontline health heroes through the sales of her print, ‘Isolated But Not Alone’, which shows one figure handing over a heart-shaped balloon to another. And after it was shared on social media, plenty of people were keen to take a look at more of her work. Now we’ve got our eye on ‘This Too Shall Pass’.
You can shop Karen’s art at ktheartart.com and she recently took over the tenancy of studio five at Art Centre Washington, where she now has a gallery and gift shop. Workshops are pending.
Lucy, from Teesside, encapsulates the architecture and landmarks of the North in her prints (the Transporter Bridge, Saltburn Pier and the Millennium Bridge to name a few) to add a pop of colour to your home. Her illustrations, drawn by hand, are instantly recognisable as our favourite landmarks.
Explore more of Lucy’s work on her Etsy page (search LucyKitchCreative) or visit instagram.com/lucykitchcreative
Samantha specialises in designing and hand-making luxury resin accessories for you and your home. Each of her serving boards is crafted from a single piece of sustainably-sourced olive wood before she individually hand-pours stunning epoxy resin artwork onto each one. Combining the unique wooden grain with her elegant marble-esque artwork, each piece is completely personal to you. See her work on display at Living North’s Christmas Fair in October.
But, for now, discover more at samanthalois.com
Based in Northumberland and working from her home in Morpeth, Rachael specialises in whimsical animal, floral and portrait work. She takes inspiration from her lifelong love of children’s literature and her own experiences as a busy mum and primary school teacher. Every one of her unique designs is crafted in her home studio (Little Flowers by Sligo) offering a wide range of personalisation options, including full commissions for unique family portraits and special occasion pictures.
Discover Rachael’s work at littleflowersbysligo.co.uk
Robert is a North Shields-based artist with a history in computer graphics. Painting is something he had always loved, but with young children and work commitments he never had the time. In October 2018, he took the leap and left the industry to get into painting. Now, he loves working in oil and perfectly captures the world around him through his art.
Find Robert’s work within North East Art Collective or online at robertmyersart.com
Yvette was commissioned by NE1 at Christmas to add to a festive wall opposite Grey’s Monument. Her art shows her love of bright colours in highly-detailed prints featuring recognisable structures across our region. So, of course, her favourite thing about the North East is the architecture. Although she’s already created plenty of prints, from The Tyne Bar to Wylam Brewery, she never runs out of inspiration – so we’re keeping an eye on her vibrant Instagram page.
Discover Yvette’s work at yvette-earl.com and instagram.com/yvetteearlillustration or search ‘YvetteEarIllustration’ on Etsy.
Ray returned to art and producing paintings full time after a long career in the NHS. He was born and worked in Sunderland and now has a studio at his home there, where he creates his paintings for both galleries and private commissions. You can expect scenes from North East, the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District in his art, as Ray captures events and activities at the places he visits.
See more of Ray’s work at artbyraybradshaw.com
Artist, illustrator and mapmaker Sarah celebrates the whole of our region in ink and watercolour with originals, prints and commissioned pieces of art – including maps, landscapes, townscapes and wildlife-inspired pieces. Alnwick Garden and Bamburgh Castle have showcased her amazing work in the past, and we can’t wait to see what she has in store for us.
Visit Sarah’s studio upstairs at Gallery Forty5 in Felton or visit sarahfarooqi.co.uk
The themes of Sam’s work are taken from everyday surroundings – most notably the people and architecture of Newcastle. He works mainly in oil paint, and creates spectacular mood and atmosphere through his work. Sam will layer, scrape and wipe areas of paintings to create abstraction and realism. As he heads back out to find more inspiration, we can’t wait to see what comes of it.
Find Sam’s work online at samwoodart.format.com or through The Biscuit Factory.
Trevor, based in his studio in the centre of Newcastle, is inspired by the inspirational rugged landscape and spectacular coastline of the North. He loves to paint and make ceramic art, recalling atmospheric encounters in changing light and weather, seasons and places. We’re looking forward to seeing his work on display at Living North’s Christmas Fair in October.
For now, discover his art at trevorcraggs.co.uk