Stuart was born in Bradford in 1950. From an early age he had the ability to draw and paint and subsequently never strayed from ‘art’ as his vocation. After sixth form he took a one year foundation course at Bradford College of Art, following which he studied Fine Art at Exeter Art College, gaining his degree in 1972.
After college he worked in his parents business in Bradford and painted in his spare time. Many of his early works were large oil paintings of regulars playing dominoes or having a quiet pint in the family pub,
His first major exhibition was in 1977 where he showed at Bradford Central Library. Here he came to the notice of the Telegraph & Argus art critic John Hewitt who was greatly impressed by Stuart’s work. In 1979 he won the Yorkshire Television Fine Art Fellowship Award which resulted in a number of one man shows across the North of England. According to Hewitt, he had never seen as many people at an exhibition at Cartwright Hall as when Stuart’s one-man show was displayed.
In the early 80’s Stuart gradually moved away from huge oils on canvas and began to develop his trademark style: The Wet Street Scenes. These magnificently capture the shimmer of rain on cobbles and flagstones in northern mill towns. Over the years he has painted hundreds of Yorkshire back streets and now changes in the urban landscape has meant that many of these places have been demolished are now lost forever, making the pictures extremely collectable. To reach a wider audience Stuart has published many examples of his art under the Northern Street Editions title. There are currently available over 65 high quality reproductions of his most popular wet street scenes.
In the early nineties, he embarked on a style he had created whilst at Exeter Art College referring to them as his ‘Fantasy Street Scenes’. Although many are based on real places they have a surreal quality with inspiration coming from memory, dreams and the influence of artists such as Edward Hopper and LS Lowry.
“I like to look up at buildings above the ground or first floor trying to imagine the story that goes on behind shuttered windows and lace curtains. I try to capture those moments in life; a lonely face at a window, a single light bulb hanging down unshaded, the flicker of a TV set. Everything around us is so interesting. . . You just have to look a bit more closely”. He continues, “ in these works I have gone from the realism of the wet streets to something more fluid and deeper, with a touch of humour and pathos.“
In these paintings the viewer sees a colourful world filled with strange figures with enough detail to give each an identity. Stuart’s paintings take us on a voyeuristic journey through a seedy world of bedsit land, of lonely people, of streets filled with activity, through to the derelict back streets of a time that looks in the past but is as relevant today.
VISIT OUR GALLERY
64 North Street
Tel. 01765 608311
Monday by arrangement
Tuesday – Friday 10 – 1pm, 2pm – 5pm
Saturday by arrangement