Lincoln born artist Kevin Wallhead takes us on a journey from his beginnings at Lincoln College of Art to the present day.
A natural progression in Kevin’s work has taken him from humble beginnings to an artist receiving much acclaim and presented him the opportunity to produce work for many prestigious organisations, not least being commissioned to produce and present work to HM the Queen in 2002 for her Golden Jubilee. In 2003 and 2004 Carlton Television commissioned Kevin for the ‘Midlander of the Year awards’, among the recipients were Martin Johnson, Ozzy Osbourne, the Bishop of Birmingham and Fiona Thornewill the polar explorer. More recently the ‘Birmingham Young Emerging Business Awards’ and also the ‘University of Nottingham Nursing Awards’, and over the new year exhibited in the East Midlands European Arts Headquarters in Brussels.
Kevin shows his work in fifteen galleries throughout England and Wales. In Lincoln he is a member of Harding House Gallery, a co-operative gallery on Steep Hill, where he works one day a week. This gallery seems to be bucking the trend in these difficult times and is thriving, due to an excellent array of art and craft.
Many artists have specialist studios to work in with much space and light, for Kevin the old wash-house at the back of his small terraced home is enough to produce his large and small creative works of art, fondly known by him and his family as the ‘Shed’.
visit www.kevinwallhead.co.uk for Kevin’s latest glass from the shed!
I’ve always been drawn to the figurative, as long as I can remember.
I can’t remember when it all began. Mum says that when I was about three or four, instead of a bedtime story, she would sit on the end of the bed and I would draw her before I settled down to go to sleep. But I can’t remember?
I can remember when I was a little older, I won a drawing competition in a popular children’s comic called ‘Jack and Jill’. I sent them a picture I’d done of a Red Indian wearing a magnificent feather head-dress and I won a fabulous box of paints. It was a big box of paints. Fantastic!
Grammar school was my next memory; I remember pinching a book from the library. There was an image in the book that I had to have, so I put the book under my blazer and calmly walked out of the library. I knew I would never return the book, so it still sits on my bookshelf and now the image hangs pride of place in my shed.
During the time of my A levels, we were taken on a study trip to the big smoke, I’d never been before and I cannot remember which gallery we went to, it was huge. There was an important exhibition taking place, massive canvasses, landscapes and seascapes, full of light, energy and atmosphere (can anyone guess who it is yet?). These were not really my cup of tea, I didn’t spend much time looking at them, instead I wandered off to explore, where did I end up……..in a small room at the top of the building, looking at amazing sketches and figures, transfixed by the images in front of me, drawings by none other than Michelangelo.
I’ve played quite a lot of rugby, from schoolboy to veterans (I can’t remember most of it due to after match frivolities) and combining this with numerous, strenuous outdoor jobs my back finally surrendered, ending with a spinal fusion. It was at this time, can’t work and can’t play rugby that I began drawing my colleagues at the rugby club. I drew them playing the game, didn’t tell them of course until the drawings were complete, and then sold the drawings to them, excellent! I’m on a winner. Who would refuse to pay for a drawing of themselves doing what they love doing most? I drew a few pets as well, but I don’t like talking about that.
A tutor at Lincoln College of Art as it was called then asked me, “Ever thought about going to Art College?” So I did. Awesome! Loved every minute, soaked everything up and more….. It was the life drawing, observational study and colour theory that really lit my fuse.
We had a one day glass workshop organised and the night before I had been reclining on the settee, watching television and at the same time drawing my feet, a simple line drawing. Then it happened? Can you draw in glass using metal?
So the next day I tried it.
Yes you can!
I had discovered what I wanted to do for the rest of my life through this weird and wonderful stuff called glass, and finally found out it’s not just a receptacle for holding real ale. It was an alternative to traditional drawing techniques to produce simple line drawings, much like you would at a life drawing class. This first image is now my logo, on my business cards and on all my other documentation. The original hangs in our front room.
I was able to discover my figurative side thanks to a module at Lincoln University which explored your individual identity. You had to scrutinize yourself (it sounds very painful, but I assure you it’s not, I enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone), just look back through your life if you can remember, and find out what makes you tick. I AM FIGURATIVE (but I do make other stuff as well).
I spend every day working, thinking, producing and loving what I do. Each piece of work is a narrative of my life, my wife, family and friends and it all comes out of my shed.
If you would like to see more of the stuff that comes out of my shed, visit my website www.kevinwallhead.co.uk
© Kevin Wallhead 2013