Urban landscape artist Matt Thompson has always been inspired by his surroundings.
And having being brought up in Huddersfield, it is our very own Yorkshire mill town, with its industrial heritage, that has provided much of the material for his work.
The 25-year-old graduate of Manchester College of Art, whose family live in Marsh, is showing a selection of his Huddersfield scenes at a new exhibition, opening tomorrow, in the AC Gallery, Byram Street.
Matt’s confident style is energetic and free flowing. His scenes are representational and recognisable and yet have an abstract edge that lends them a contemporary feel.
Mike Baggs, owner of the AC gallery, says: “I first saw his work at the start of the year and was very impressed. The work almost fizzes off the paper, it is full of intensity, and I’m really keen to showcase the local scenes here in Huddersfield.”
Matt himself is delighted to be showing in his home town. Until studying in Manchester, where he is now based, he lived in Huddersfield up to the age of 20, attending Honley High School and Greenhead College.
He took a foundation course at Leeds College of Art after A levels and chose to study printmaking in Manchester, but after the first year changed direction. Matt explained: “When I had my interview they said my work would be suitable for printing. I did a lot of drawing-based work. But I didn’t really like printing and switched to painting.
“I have always liked drawing cityscapes and places around me. At school I think you are trying to work in the way that people think you should work but for me the turning point, when I found my style, was when my tutors at college gave me a time limit for each work and it loosened up my paintings.”
He is exhibiting 23 pieces in the exhibition, which ends on August 23, most of which are familiar scenes of Huddersfield, while others capture West Yorkshire’s industrial past and present.
Matt works in mixed media and describes his technique as “using anything I can get my hands on”.
He said: “I draw with charcoal and use acrylics, oils, inks and oil pastels. It’s a process of trial and error.”
Although he has dabbled with pastoral landscapes, Matt says his real love is painting urban scenes and the structures within them.
Matt first began selling his work at Holmfirth Art Market, where his paintings won the Outstanding Artist Award in 2012, and now shows at galleries in Manchester, Leeds and London. He is a past featured artist at the Huddersfield Open Studio Artist Trail and has exhibited at The Art Station in the town’s railway station.
Although he is now enjoying growing success with his paintings, Matt works part time for a co-operative in Manchester to fund his artistic endeavours.
Matt shares the AC exhibition with Bradford-based artist Danny Abrahams. Both artists will be at the gallery to meet visitors and talk about their work tomorrow from noon until 3pm.