Meet Graham Sheen

Graham Sheen was born in 1982 in Corby, Northamptonshire. and still lives in Corby with his daughter. He finds this helps him to keep active, creative and never in the same place, as anyone with children will know it keeps you busy.

Each day is different and he believe this reflects in his artwork.

How long have you been creating for?

I have been painting since 1999 and found early enjoyment when using acrylic on canvas. Through time I started to use other materials in my work including pins, plastics, wood, denim and any other material that comes to hand.

Taking inspiration from artists such as Phillip Sutton, Jackson Pollock and Dilorenzo my work has no rules. I have moved in to the world of experimental and street art, have created woodcuts and other exciting pieces.

Whether it’s everyday knick-knacks, pebbles from the beach, denim, pens, pallets or pins, I have amassed a vast array of items that have been turned into mind-blowing creations. I was intrigued by how these items could bring a picture to life and add a wow factor to my work.

Jeepers Creepers

Can you describe your art and the mixing of materials?

I think my art fits in to the Mixed Media / Experimentalism categories. I love using mixed materials that give the work texture and depth, make people look and also make them ask questions like ‘What have you used? Why have you used that? How have you done that?’

The materials that I use always have a connection to the images that they make. For example, one piece called Weirdy Beardy was based on a person who struggled with various life issues relating to alcohol and substance abuse.

At the time of creating the work, he was trying to control these habits and in his words to ‘piece his life back together’. Each piece included in the image has relevance to the story since they were collected by him and given to me to create the image.

The clock movement represents time as a healer, the pill packets are an echo of the substance issue and there is even a breathalyser tube representing the alcohol abuse.

What inspires your work

My inspiration comes from a number of things. My daughter loves building things with lego and craft items so this gives me inspiration. I myself still buy the occasional lego model and build it.

The leftover pieces usually end up in a piece of my work. I’m a bit of a hoarder and like to re-use a lot of materials too.

I don’t like wasting things, always recycle and I like to find new uses for everyday items.

Workday Introspection #1, #2 & #3

What do you use to create your pieces and why?

Pretty much anything I can get my hands on. But in all seriousness, it has to be related to the image. I did a piece recently that was for a local school. The pupils had asked me to do a portrait of their teacher, so I suggested that they collect things that were associated with their teacher, that could be used in the image.

Items included, pencils, rubbers, chalk, tape, blu-tac, pencil sharpeners, pencil sharpenings, crayons and more.

Another piece called Pinsanity, is a self-portrait, made from 27,600 map pins. I am a Diabetic and over my lifetime have done in excess of 58,000 injections and 39,000 blood tests. The pins in the picture represent a portion of the needles that I have had to use and the screaming face represents the stress and anger of having to do these injections during my early days as a Diabetic.

The piece is now on permanent display at Ripley’s Believe it or Not (Blackpool). It also won a Mixism international art award in 2012.

Pinsanity (2)

What colour pallet do you prefer to work with?

To be honest I like to keep the image simple with the base colours being black and white. I occasionally include hints of other colours. For example, I have created work made from vinyl records and include part of record label.

It gives the images a bit more life than just plain black vinyl.

Where do you like to work?

Most of my work is done in my front room. I have had studios in the past but when you really get in to working on a piece, its not always easy to nip to the studio, especially when its about 3am and you have the urge to change or add something on to a picture. It’s easier to nip downstairs than to drive to the studio.

How long does a piece take, do you follow any kind of process?

Most of my pieces take between one and three weeks to complete. Sketching the image is the longest part of the process but once its done it’s a joy to use the mixed items that I have collected for the piece.

So although some pieces may take a bit longer than others, the time flies thanks to the enjoyment of the creating process.

Connect with Graham Sheen

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