Harry Bell – Fine Artist
I was born in Gateshead, on the River Tyne, and grew up loving the buildings around me. I still live there and the majority of my work is derived from the urban environment, but over the years I’ve travelled round Europe and the Mediterranean filling my head with light and colour, boats and trams, beaches and buildings and crumbling walls.
Although I often draw from the subject, I am primarily a studio-based artist and most of my work comes from my own photographs. These are always manipulated to a greater or lesser extent, by cropping, photocopying, collage and computer program. Drawings are often produced as an intermediate stage, so that the final painting can be produced from aspects of several processes. A photographic likeness is never an aim!
I’ve always thought of still life as a townscape made small and following a necessary move to a much smaller studio, I’ve begun to investigate that idea by painting quite small still life paintings with an emphasis on design and pattern.
Feeding into that is an occasional series based on found still life subjects. I love the careful, but often random grid arrangements of shoes, hats, bags and other holiday items set out in front of shops and stalls abroad, so they now figure in paintings.
Finally, the fabric of the city provides me with material for highly textured paintings, using collage and acrylic gels, to make work dealing with the effects of time on surfaces, the distressed paintwork, rusted locks and handles of doors, and the textural and compositional possibilities of brick, wood, metal and rust.