Q&As with John Cockshaw

What’s your background?

My background is in Fine Art, research in Art and Design, and art education. I obtained my BA(Hons) Fine Art and MRES (MA in Research) in Art and Design from Sheffield Hallam University in 2002 and 2003.

Explain what you do in 100 words
My artwork explores literature and, occasionally, popular culture as an influence. I work on multiple large projects at once and enjoy freely switching between and combining varied media; paint, pen and ink, photography and video. I have been exhibiting my portfolio for 10 years now and over the past few years have gained experience in curating group exhibitions, which is a skill I hope to develop further. Collaboration appeals to me and I’ve relished the opportunity to work closely with independent publishers on exciting book projects. I am currently working on my fourth book in tandem with an upcoming SF and Fantasy author.

What five words best describe your work?
Ethereal, dreamlike, ghost-like, enchanting and spacious.

What are you working on at the moment?
A solo exhibition inspired by the works of JRR Tolkien titled ‘Far from the Shire’ featuring selected guest artists to open in Knaresborough in late September. Also, the second entry in a series of books titled ‘A Darkness in Mind’ with Author Robert S. Malan for Luna Press Publishing, which will be a hybrid novella and graphic novel.

Which three artists most inspire you?
Salvador Dali, musician Philip Glass and (currently) author Susanna Clarke.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Regardless of any other job you are required to hold down at the same time, the role of being an artist should be treated as a full-time occupation.

Favourite or most inspirational place in Yorkshire
The Peak District because discovering it for myself coincided with my art training at university.

Tell us something we don’t know
In July I was featured in photographer Paul Oldham’s brilliant character study ‘People of Ripon’, which was a hugely inspiring and memorable project to be part of and be featured as a subject.

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