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Somerset artist Mike Jackson's work is inspired by family, and his relationship with his wife.

History and Background

Born in 1962 to a working class Manchester family, I grew up in a warm family surrounding with honest values. I left school with few qualifications but with a great love of art. However, I was encouraged to learn a trade so ‘I would always have something to fall back on’. I became a Butcher. After a wide and varied career path I eventually pursued the artistic path and became a Graphic Designer. I bought the various computer packages along with an Apple Mac and taught myself. I was lucky enough to gain access into the Commercial Art world and I stayed there, learning from mistakes and increasing in knowledge and experience for about 12 years. Meantime I was developing my illustration skills and learning different Medias until I felt I was good enough to sell some of my paintings. For years after that I concentrated on perfecting my watercolour skills and felt that this was the path for me. I was quite a successful watercolour artist for many years and was pushed by a friend who has a gallery in Somerset to try out acrylics. This I did, and to my surprise I absolutely loved them. I have no formal training in art so I have had to learn by my own mistakes, yet I would have it no other way as I feel that this is the best way of developing your own technique. I am married with two fabulous children and one grandson, who all keep my feet on the ground. We moved to Somerset in 1999 which was fabulous for my artistic inspiration, as the colours and the local sounds of the country really help to free up my mind.

Ideas and Inspirations

I am inspired really by my family, and the way my wife and I were when we were teenagers. We were a pair of romantics and always endeavoured to keep our relationship fun! I try to depict this in my little characters. In most relationships there are sad times as well as happy times; this will show in my character as my work develops.

I was greatly inspired by LS Lowry, influenced mainly because he was a friend of my Grandfather. My ideas come mainly when I am out driving, and thinking about quirky little images to paint. I wish I could say that they come easily, but they don’t! It really is hard work, in fact that is probably harder than putting the painting together. I tend to draw hundreds of little sketches when I get an idea in my head, and then try to develop two or three of the best sketches.