MAstars 2012: Bartosz Beda, MA Fine Art

MAstars 2012: Bartosz Beda, MA Fine Art Bartosz Beda, Gandhi III - study from memory, 2012. Oil on board. 40cm x 30cm

Carol Huston selects Bartosz Beda from Manchester Metropolitan University for MAstars

Upon entering the Holden Gallery at Manchester Metropolitan last month for the MA 2012 show, I was immediately drawn to several paintings ripe with heavy impasto. Now this was a painter not afraid to lay his medium on thick, a painter who created paintings that you wanted to lick, or at least touch, but only when the guards were out of sight, of course. I quickly discovered that this was the work of Bartosz Beda, an award-winning artist who seemed to be exploding across various internet platforms recently. Short-listed for the Title Art Prize, the Door Prize and the Saatchi New Sensations, Beda finally won the esteemed Towry Award for the Best of the North of England earlier this month. I caught up with the Polish-born, Manchester-based artist to discuss his work, while he’s living in Dresden for a six-month residency.

Bartosz Beda woman with red nose

Bartosz Beda, Woman with Red Nose, 2012. Oil on canvas. 30cm x 40cm

When Beda left his hometown Lódz for Manchester, he remembered how he ‘loved this industrial smell of the past completed by the modern society.’ With a studio at Rogue Artists in Manchester, Beda found a community in which he felt comfortable working and creating. Beda’s interest in painting began from a young age; he remembers being drawn to colour for as long as he can remember. His parents recognised his talent for drawing and sent him to art schools to learn the academic style, which prepared him for study at the Manchester School of Art as an adult. He decided to make painting his profession about six years ago. He realises that he ‘grew up in a generation of young people to which others were telling that painting is dead’. He is open to new forms, but for now painting seems to be where he has successfully settled. Beda describes painting as ‘a medium where [he] could find [him]self well’.

Beda draws from a wide variety of sources, including reading, film, television and the internet. He explains, ‘I imagine myself as a transmitter of information from visual sources to the flat surface of the painting’ when deciding upon his subject matter. He likes to inundate himself with electronic devices and uses the moving image as a source of inspiration. His work also references the sculptures of the great masters as well as photographs he takes with his phone or iPad. Beda’s paintings reflect his own voice, as he strays away from directly imposing other artists’ interpretations into his work. These days he explains that music is a major influence, citing Bob Dylan as a recent favourite. As Beda finishes up his residency in Dresden, I look forward to seeing what new works this young artist will produce in the coming years. 

Selected by Carol Huston
Published November, 2012

View Bartosz Beda's profile >

About Carol Huston

Carol Huston is an arts writer based in Manchester. She's been commissioned by Dazed & ConfusedFrieze and NOWNESS as well as smaller webzines, publications, and websites including FLUXCorridor8POST NEWManchester Fashion and Aesthetica Magazine blog. She is currently working on articles about Linder Sterling’s 2013 touring ballet and Michael Moorcock’s career.

Carol is finishing a PhD in Art History at the University of Manchester, which will be submitted in January 2013. Her academic research explores the relationship between Eduardo Paolozzi and JG Ballard from 1966 until 1989.

When Carol’s not writing, she can be found drooling over the latest cookbooks, listening to new music or idly flicking though fashion magazines. Carol is open to exploring commissions regarding contemporary art, music and fashion, so feel free to get in touch with her on

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