I use to live in Sheffield, U.K. I grew up there, went to school there, started my working life there. When I was about 22 years old I visited a number of friends who had moved away to be students, studying art at various Universities. We use to have great times and the experiences opened my eyes somewhat to what I thought I was missing, the fun, the cool people the lack of responsibilities. These factors appealed to me as I was working six days a week in the quasi industrial side of the city as a fabricating welder and cutter, dark dingy and dismal work, I owned my own house, which seemed like a millstone around my neck when it came to having fun. "I have to work to pay the mortgage!" things were less expensive then. I guess it was what is now called F.O.M.O. fear of missing out.
I distinctly remember thinking when visiting the art studio of my friend "that I could do that!". And so after returning home I purchased some art equipment and started practising. I was thinking that this could be a route out of my dark and unhealthy welding job. The creativity flowed. I had the space, I had no rules, I had no television. Fast forward a few years, I Studied art, gaining an art A level, I applied to universities as a mature student. I was accepted and my future changed. I left Sheffield 28 years ago to become / study to be an artist/ painter.
mixed media on photograph
original artwork by Jonathan Oakes
I still thought, until recently of Sheffield as my home in spirit if not in body. Now, after many years of adventure and misadventure and after having had in recent months been chosen for four consecutive exhibitions in Sheffield. Three in the wonderful Fronteer gallery and one at Cupola Contemporary gallery. It kind of feels proper, as if it is somehow meant to be.
I feels like a great honour, as I have been searching for galleries that are on a similar wave length or at least understand my artworks and of course agree to show my artworks, As you might or might not know this can be a difficult thing to achieve, especially if, like my me you produce artworks that might not be run of the mill, safe or to a certain degree comfortable. At the time of writing I have had more exhibitions in Sheffield, my ex home town, then I have in my now home town or even the surrounding areas.
I recently travelled to Sheffield to attend the private at the Fronteer Gallery for their exhibition "Beneath the Earth" I also visited the Cupola Contemporary Gallery to view their exhibition "Delphic". Both of these experiences were lovely and I felt very welcomed.
It is the last week of both of these exhibitions they are both definitely worth a visit!
Addresses and w3w locations are at the bottom of the blog.
I had also arranged to visit a friend/ colleague of mine. A gentleman called Sam Sherborne. Sam is an extremely talented sculptor who uses his vast blacksmiths skills to produce amazing and beautiful steel artworks. I met Sam when he selected me to exhibit with him in an art space called the Orb Walls in Leeds back in April this year. The exhibition was entitled "Telling Stories". Sam and I had a great chat and he gave me a wonderful tour of his forge and studio.
On top of all this, I had also arranged to meet up with a friend of mine I had not seen for over 25 years, Sil Devilly. Sil is a hugely talented costume designer and an historical clothing specialist and maker. It was amazing to meet up and reconnect with some of my past roots.
Conte crayon & pencil on paper
original artwork by Jonathan Oakes
All this talk of Sheffield and the various chats and warm welcomes have made me somewhat nostalgic for my old home town. Hence the title of the Blog. More Sheffield exhibitions are planned and visits are to be arranged with the thought of maybe meeting up with other artists in Sheffield based art groups.
Cupola Contemporary Gallery
174 - 178a Middlewood Road
Beneath the Earth Fronteer Gallery Unit 4 Orchard Square Sheffield S1 2FB w3w= think.deeply.spare