North East Connected

Student makes an art of his studies

A YOUNG artist has overcome his colour-blindness to good effect with a kaleidoscopic portrait of an English icon

Barnard Castle School leaver Tom Leeming has earned himself a week’s exhibition space in one of the country’s most-loved galleries.

His painting of pop superstar David Bowie is on show in Gallerina, Darlington, before it takes pride of place with its new owner, who spotted it at another exhibition.

The 18-year-old artist, of Darlington, has just left Barnard Castle School, where he took A Level art, and will continue studying the subject at Leeds Art University in September.

“I completed my dissertation about the working relationship between Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat which happily coincided with the first major retrospective of Basquiat’s work at the Barbican last autumn,” he said.

“My work has developed out of studying graffiti artists such as Kaws, Banksy and David Choe. I have just been commissioned to do a mural in a local micro-brewery in town too, which is great.

“I like to find interesting faces to draw and enjoyed exploring the many images of Bowie for my final A level project. The colours I use are because I’m colour blind, so I decided to focus on the tones of the face, therefore, my paintings will look very different to other people than they do to me.

“I couldn’t have asked for more help from my teachers who gave me so much freedom it was like being an artist in my own studio. The Bowie piece looks amazing on the wall of such a well respected gallery.”

Gallerina owner Richard Hindle said: “After 20 years of helping to champion new and young artists, meeting Tom is a reminder of the rich talent we have in the region.

“After being approached by his teacher Sarah Rothwell, who shares our passion for art, we were delighted to show Tom’s work in our gallery as a reward for all his efforts.”

Sarah said: “Tom is a real talent and has done exceptionally well producing work of the highest standard. It is all the more remarkable against a backdrop of not only being colour blind but dyslexic as well. We can’t wait to see what he produces when he starts his course in Leeds.”

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