Jack Halford, artist

image-2Jack Halford may only be 19, but he has already quit art college to become a full time artist and has set his sights on exhibiting in London.

He was a runner up in the Peak District Artisans’ Young Artist of the Year Competition last year and consequently was part of an exhibition at St John Street Gallery in Ashbourne.

This month his distinctive abstract work can be seen at the new Etienne Gallery at In The Flow in Matlock.

If he has his way, his paintings will be winging their way to the capital anytime soon as he says he already has a gallery owner showing some interest in what he does.

“This is my first solo exhibition but I have given up college because I wanted to spend more time painting. I want to be even more prolific and have big ambitions for the future,” he said.

Jack is from Blaby in south Leicestershire but now has his own flat in Derby, where he says he spends his days painting and reading about art.

He came to the county as a pupil at the Alderwasley Hall Sixth Form Centre near Wirksworth because aged 13 he was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.

“That was really the best thing that happened to me as going there introduced me to a brilliant art teacher who really encouraged me.

“There were no restrictions in what we could do and so I was free to develop my work as I wanted to do, with suggestions in how from time to time,” said Jack.

On leaving school he started a foundation course in art but says college was stifling his creativity.

“All my energy was going into work they were setting for me and it stopped me from painting. I just wasn’t enjoying it.

“I don’t care about the academic qualifications anyway. That is all part of the London Establishment and I don’t want to be part of it.

“There are a lot of other artists who think the same and I am happy with what I am doing,” he said rebelliously.

The young painter says movement is currently a very important part of his style. It is abstract expressionism that somehow replicates the physical sensation and illusion of motion and at the same time conveys a lot of raw emotion.

“My work is still changing and developing all the time and I am sure it will be completely different in a few years time but the important thing for me is that I am doing it now.”

Jack Halford at Etienne Gallery, Matlock is on throughout March. Go to http://www.jasonetienne.com for times.