Neil Shawcross

Profile of the artist

Although based in Belfast, renowned artist, Neil Shawcross was actually born in Kearseley, Co Lancashire, in 1940. He attended Bolton College of Art, and Lancaster College of Art. He came to Belfast in 1962 as a part-time lecturer at Belfast's local College of ARt.

As an artist, decorative, painterly concerns mean everything to him, the work of the eye being paramount. Shawcross' painting is always affectionate, often humorous, always an act of faith, and a delight in the presentation of objects. His themes have remained still life, the portrait and the nude. His influences are by way of the French tradition – Bonnard, Mattisse and Duffy. His reductive eye picks out characteristic, telling shapes and patterns; colours soak and spread, while lines sparingly assist the editing process. As in children’s art, object and ground are governed by flatness. As an enthusiastic teacher of young children, Shawcross endorses their seeing in a manner of an equal partner, rather than an interventionist.

Shawcross is well known for his portraits, which include a picture of the writer Francis Stuart for the Ulster Museum. He has also designed stained glass for the Ulster Museum, and for St Colman’s Church, Lambeg. Shawcross has had one person shows in Bolton, London, Manchester and Dublin, and in the Tom Caldwell Gallery in Belfast.