Who are the 30 new artists and makers in York Open Studios? Meet seven more here

Shannon Vertigan: Exploring perceptions of home in her student showcase at York St John University

YORK Open Studios returns to its traditional spring slot for the next two weekends after last year’s temporary Covid-enforced detour to July.

More than 150 artists and makers will be showing and selling their work within their homes and workspaces, giving visitors an opportunity to view and buy “bespoke pieces to suit every budget”, from 10am to 5pm on April 2,3, 9 and 10, preceded by this evening’s  6pm to 9pm preview. 

As ever, the range of artists’ work encompasses painting and print, illustration, drawing and mixed media, ceramics, glass and sculpture, jewellery, textiles, photography and installation art. Check out the artists’ directory listings at yorkopenstudios.co.uk to find out who is participating and who will be opening up early for the preview.

CharlesHutchPress will highlight the 30 newcomers in a week-long preview, in map order, that continues today with Andrew Wrigley; Helen Wrigley; Ni Studios; Laetitia Newcombe; John Cutting; Matilde Tomat and Shannon Vertigan.

“Paradise remains stubbornly lost despite my return to the UK in 1997,” says Andrew Wrigley

Andrew Wrigley, painting, 1 The Sycamores, Sycamore Place, York

ANDREW works in oils and digitally, as well as in drawing and sculpture. His work is figurative, with narrative pointers to realities that lurk beyond outward appearances. “The bigger the canvas, the better,” he says. 

Andrew was born in Scotland but grew up in a little shack on the Pampas from the age of nine. “My art bears witness to the fact I’ve not recovered from the shock of migration and that paradise remains stubbornly lost despite my return to the UK in 1997,” he says.

He never had the time to complete his Masters thesis in theoretical physics at the University of Buenos Aires on account of spending six hours a day drawing.

Helen Wrigley: Favours big canvasses

Helen Wrigley, painting, 1 The Sycamores, Sycamore Place, York

HELEN works primarily in oil paint on big canvasses while calling on her experience in photography, design and sculpture as she expresses her emotional response to her chosen subjects.

“Through life, my creativity has always shone through, whatever the material,” she says. “Never satisfied with other people’s design, my joy has always been in the challenge to create and achieve this intention, whether it be clothes and garden design or fine art.” 

Mimi in black and white at Ni Studios

Mimi at Ni Studios, mixed media, 20-24 Swinegate, York

MIMI is a multi-disciplinary artist whose creativity spans painting, printmaking, charcoal, realism, photography and digital work, all presented on the walls at Ni Studios, where she will host a demonstration on Saturday at 2pm.

“I’m a multi-faceted artist whose true passion lies within autobiographical creations,” she says. “My practice is innately cathartic and led by expressionism and my emotions.  

“Most of my work is instinctual, spilling my thoughts and feelings out from behind the barrier of creation. I believe I use creating as a release and see myself reflected through most of my oeuvre.”

Laetitia Newcombe: “Drawn to the fluid nature of clay”

Laetitia Newcombe, sculptural ceramics, York College student showcase, The Last Drop Inn, 27 Colliergate, York

INSPIRATION for Laetitia’s sculptural ceramics, jewellery and wall hangings comes from the forms and patterns she finds in her surroundings, together with a deep connection to her vibrant upbringing.

Growing up in South Africa and now based in North Yorkshire, she draws on this fusion of influences in her richly textured and brightly coloured works.

“All my pieces are hand-built, using coils and slabs that I alter, sculpt and refine as I go along,” she says. “I’m drawn to the fluid nature of clay as it lets me express my individuality.”

A sculptural ceramic by Laetitia Newcombe

John Cutting, sculpture, student showcase at Creative Centre, York St John University, Lord Mayor’s Walk, York

JOHN’S art practice has developed from multiple skills gained during his working life as a soldier, engineer, traveller and adventurer.

These experiences enable him to confidently identify and play with raw, natural, synthetic and engineered materials that ooze inspiration for him to create assemblage sculpture and installations.

John Cutting: Soldier, engineer, traveller, adventurer and sculptor

Using his imagination, creativity and experimental approach, he chooses suitable materials from their texture, form and malleability.

Establishing a working knowledge of the materials’ properties, capabilities and boundaries, John creates unique and personal pieces of contemporary art with an “imaginary, thought-provoking awareness of the relationship the various combinations present”.

Caught in the act of reading: artist Matilde Tomat

Matilde Tomat, mixed media, student showcase at Creative Centre, York St John University, Lord Mayor’s Walk, York

CAUGHT in the act of drawing, Matilde’s work investigates the reactions and separateness of both maker and viewer while exploring inspiration, separation and artistic pleasure in her mixed-media performative piece.

Originally from Italy, Matilde is an artist, writer, psychogeographer and psychotherapist. “My practice evolved from the enquiry on loss to the discernment of past events, the idea of posterity, the concepts of Truth and Seen, and my identity as an artist as seen by ‘the others’ while in the act of creating,” she says.

A lover of silence, Matilde is intrigued by hidden connections, synchronicities and the mystical. Oh, and should you be wondering, psychogeography is the study of the influence of geographical environment on the mind or on behaviour. Psychogeography art “explores artists’ responses to place and displacement in real and imagined spaces”.

Shannon Vertigan: Questioning the meaning of ‘dwelling’

Shannon Vertigan, student showcase at Creative Centre, York St John University, Lord Mayor’s Walk, York

SHANNON’S multi-disciplinary practice begins to question the meaning of ‘dwelling’. “Installations are inspired by investigating the role of structures that surround us, spatial boundaries and differing perceptions of ‘home’,” she says. 

Born in Cheshire in 1999, Shannon is an artist, researcher, organiser and curator, at present completing a BA degree in Fine Art at York St John University.

She is a director of numerous community art projects and was a co-curator, organiser and resident artist at Uthink’s Piccadilly Pop-Up in York. Last year she exhibited at The Awakening show in York; Cultivate: Alright? and Cultivate: Next, both online, and Uthink York at 23, Piccadilly.

In focus tomorrow: Philip Wilkinson, sculpture; Rukshana Afia, ceramics; Dylan Connor, sculpture; Anna Pearson, painting; Danladi Kole Bako, mixed media; Izzy Williamson, printmaking.