Emerson Mayes is a Yorkshire born artist who has experienced that rarest of things: success both critical and commercial since the beginning of his career as a painter. From the day the now 39-year-old graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University in 1994, he has enjoyed a growing reputation for a fresh, honest and uncontrived approach to his work. With his roots firmly in the British landscape tradition, Emerson’s work reflects his obvious passion for this vast and complex subject. Although he strives to achieve a direct response, he is never tied down by the ‘topographical’ elements in the landscape. He says, ‘it’s the emotional reaction and that sense of place that’s most important in a finished piece, not whether a tree is in exactly the right place’.
This is achieved by whenever possible working outside, directly from the landscape. These pieces are then brought into the studio, where they can be judged as paintings in
their own right, away from all the distractions. Some pieces take very little extra work, others are unrecognisable and a lot never make it out of the studio. ‘It’s very important that I am happy with every painting that leaves for exhibition’. Asked when he knows a painting is finished he replies, ‘it’s when the sheer beauty of the landscape is balanced exactly with the absolute joy and excitement of the actual act of painting’.
Through living in the landscape where he works Emerson has developed a deep understanding and knowledge of the area where he paints. Almost all of his work is completed within a stone’s throw from his home in the heart of Nidderdale.’I just love the fact that I am constantly surrounded by the landscape that inspires me. A quick glance out of the window or a walk to the village shop can really inspire and inform me. I have the river at the end of the road, the moors overlooking me and the dale sweeping down in-between, I don’t really see the need to travel further afield. The important thing to me when I am painting is that I feel an emotional connection with it and it is my home county which I have that connection to.’
Winning the Young Artist of the Year Award in 1995 was the first of a number of major awards he has received. This together with successful shows across the country and in London has resulted in Emerson having an evergrowing number of loyal collectors, both private and corporate, here in Britain and worldwide.
For more information please see the artists own website Emerson Mayes
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