I work primarily in painting. I create in an expressive and instinctual way, combining imaginary objects, people and scenarios with those I have observed in real life, creating absurd and vibrant canvasses. Drawing and photography is often a starting point, or else images seem to appear spontaneously from the painting itself as I work.
My paintings are usually constructed with multiple layers of acrylic paint, sometimes combining spray paint or collage. I love to experiment with ways of beginning a painting, and I enjoy not knowing what the outcome will be. The narrative of my work is ambiguous, where the viewer is able to make their own associations. I work in the abstract and the figurative, twisting reality to my own joyful or grotesque psychedelic, surreal fantasies. I’m attracted to strangeness and the wonder of perception - the affect of our emotions, experiences and imagination on what we think is reality.
I was born in Middlesbrough and now live in Leeds, working from my studio at Sunny Bank Mills. My practice also involves curating, illustration and experimental film photography.
I studied BA (Hons) Graphic Arts and Design at Leeds Metropolitan University and MA Curation Practices at Leeds Arts University, and have a Foundation Degree from Cleveland College of Art.
I am the curator of Compact Contemporary gallery, a miniature art gallery which can be viewed on Instagram @compactcontemporary
CV & Education
MA Curation Practices - Leeds Arts University
BA (Hons) Graphic Arts & Design - Leeds Beckett University
Foundation Course - Cleveland College of Art & Design
2020 - Tidal Reality (online exhibition)
2018 – A speck of dust, Heart, Leeds
2016 - New Paintings, BrewDog Leeds (Love Arts Leeds)
2015 - Boom Shk (g’dit g’dit dat), Waterside Arts Centre, Sale, Manchester
2014 – Another New Entry, Jordan's Solicitors, Wakefield (part of Artwalk Wakefield)
2014 – Sodium Laureth Sulphate, The Crooked House, Leeds
2013/14 – bof! Bowery Visual Arts, Leeds
2007 - Paintings and Printings, Otley Courthouse, Otley
2006 - Helen Dryden at The Reform Bar, The Reform Bar, Leeds., Leeds
2005 - Solo Exhibition, Art's Cafe, Leeds, West Yorkshire
Selected Group Exhibitions:
2021 - Leeds Summer Group Show (online)
Personifying Pleasure, Stay Home Gallery (online)
Jungle, Katmapped.org (online)
D31 Art Prize, Longlisted
Starting Space, The Photo's Edge (online)
2020 - Creatures, Beasts, Myths - Vacant Museum (online)
Uncovered Streets – Instagram @uncovered_streets curated by Sarah Grant
2019 – Hygge, kapow! Coffee, Leeds.
Twice as nice, PS Mirabel, Manchester
Huddersfield Summer Exhibition, The Making Space, Huddersfield.
SIZE Matters, Gallery One, The World of Glass, St Helens
2017 – Capturing Movement, Studio 3 Gallery, University of Kent, Canterbury
Paper Idols, Alfred, Leeds
Hand In/Hand Out (Double Yolk), Lime Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne.
Hip Hop Happy Birthday, Sela Bar, Leeds.
2016 – SPECTRUM, PS Mirabel, Manchester
Her Sela Art Thing II, Sela Bar, Leeds
Moments, The Bowery, Leeds
2015 - Screen Dump, Love Arts Leeds*
Shelf Life, PS Mirabel, Manchester
2014 - Otley Courthouse 10th Anniversary show, Otley
Mexico Members' Show, Mexico, Leeds
2013 - Colourful Creations, The Classroom Gallery, Nottingham
2009 - Leeds Gallery Open, Leeds Art Gallery
Particles, Particles, Surface Gallery, Nottingham
2008 - Leeds Bradford Imprint, Tonic Art Space at LGI, The Carriageworks, and Leeds Design Innovation Centre, Leeds
Salon, Patrick Studios, East Street Arts, Leeds
2007 - 7 Year Itch, Leeds Metropolitan University Gallery, Leeds
Imprint, Leeds General Infirmary Tonic Gallery, Design Innovation Centre, The Light, Leeds
Leeds Artists' Show 2007, Leeds Art Gallery
Shoes: The Agony and the Ecstasy, Cartwright Hall Art Gallery, Bradford
2006 - Artist's Show 2006, Leeds City Art Gallery, Leeds
Multiply, Corn Exchange, Leeds, West Yorkshire
Off The Shelf, Saltburn Gallery, Saltburn, North Yorkshire
Sefton Open 2006, The Atkinson Art Gallery, Southport, Merseyside
Testbed 4, Leeds Metropolitan University Gallery, Leeds
2004 - Keighley Arts Factory, Keighley, West Yorkshire
Portraits Now, Crescent Arts, Scarborough, North Yorkshire
2020 – The Virtual Art Fair – Second Edition https://www.thevirtualartfair.co.uk/
2017 – Art&, York Racecourse, York
2013 – Juju Showcase Spectacular, Leeds
2013 – MAKE Art and Design Fair, Wakefield
2007 - Leeds Art Fair Lite, The Light, Leeds
2005 and 2006 - Leeds Art Fair, The Light, Leeds, West Yorkshire
Competitions, prizes and awards:
2019 – Highly Commended – Leeds Museums and Galleries Armistace and After: Peace Outreach Volunteer. (Outstanding contribution to engaging museum audiences)
2015 - CIT (Creative Industries Trafford) Micro-Commission Award, selected in partnership with Castlefield Gallery. This award is funded by Arts Council England and seeks to help develop the work of promising contemporary artists.
2009 - Who are you? Photographic competition - runner up, Impressions Gallery, Bradford, West Yorkshire
2008 - Creative 30 - Nomination, VICE, Volvo, The Independent and Yahoo!, www.creative30.net
2008 - Street and Studio: Urban portraiture photography competition, Tate Modern, London, UK
Street or Studio photobook
Catalogue Capturing Movement, University of Kent
Then and now 10th anniversary of The Bowery, Leeds.
Press (Art Practice:)
http://www.madeinleeds.tv/player/?playercat=76647&vid=g60zmp15(Interview 5 mins in)