BA (Hons) Fine Art Painting, University Centre St Helens

“At the start of my course my paintings tended to be exact imitations of the photographs from which I worked, and my reasons for painting them were superficial. I was too concerned with painting what could be seen, resulting in work that was thematically one dimensional. My current body of work is more theory based, and is painted in a freer style with less regard for detail or the mimesis of my photographic source material.

For my degree show I’m producing a series of oil paintings, on card and board, based on family photographs. The works, which feature objects and family members past and present, are distorted representations of the photographs and highlight themes relating to memory and time.

During my degree show I hope to get a feel for what works and what doesn’t, but ultimately I want to enjoy the experience and learn from it. Producing and presenting your work for an audience can be stressful, but it’s exciting too. The degree show is a chance to showcase work to an enthusiastic and appreciative audience. I particularly enjoy the moment when I relinquish control of my work and it’s then for the viewer to find within it their own meanings.

After graduation I’m considering doing an MA but my main focus is to continue with my painting practice and to build a strong and exciting body of work.”

Degree show: 15 May – 20 June.

1. Gary Mitchell, Phrenology Study 2, 19 x 19 cms, oil on board. Photo: Wayne Robinson
2. Gary Mitchell, Mother and Child, Study 1, 19 x 19 cms, oil on board. Photo: Wayne Robinson

Interview by Ellen Wilkinson