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Derrick Fielding

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Hugely popular contemporary landscape artist, Derrick Fielding’s first canvases were somewhat unconventional, even by artist’s sometimes suspect standards; being as they were the backs of wallpaper rolls. Far from being an arty statement of something or another, the reverse sides of home decoration materials were just the closest – and most repeated prescription – surfaced materials to hand to a young master Fielding as attempted to express himself, creatively during his childhood. This was thanks in no small part to his father being a painter and decorator, who would often store a plethora of wallpaper rolls for his customer base, who, let’s say was not altogether happy with his son’s enterprising creative ways from the outset. The subject matter would be anything that would regularly occupy the transient mind of a young boy, and therefore largely be spaceships, tanks, robots and dinosaurs we should imagine, but we’ll leave that to your imagination.

What is fact over fiction however is Fielding’s childhood fascination with the countryside, and spending his formative years growing up on the rural edge of Liverpool where the sprawling metropolis would in turn peter out into pleasant country vistas the explorer in the budding artist had plenty of ready adventures at his disposal. Venturing further and further out on his bike, Fielding developed a love of cycling too, and along with his school friends would often head off into the countryside on what he refers to as ‘marathon cycling holidays’. To Fielding’s mind, he fervently believes that you are privy to a deal more panoramas when out and about on your bike than ever you would be party to when travelling by car. And he’s definitely got a point there.

Suffice to say art was Fielding’s favourite subject at school and once he left secondary education he couldn’t wait to get into a related industry, rather than attend art school. He was fortunate enough to be offered an apprenticeship locally on leaving, landing a trainee role as a sign-writer at the nearby Aintree Racecourse; and scene of the Grand National annually of course. Fielding mentions this period of his early career being instrumental in his understanding and appreciation of a more graphical style of painting with almost animated visual hints, which have naturally filtered through into the compositional work in which he’s since gone on to be recognised for. Suitably inspired by Liverpool’s expansive collection of historical and maritime-based architecture, Fielding would spend what spare time he had during this next period of his life making regular visits into the city centre and painting the very likeness of many a nostalgic metropolitan landscape in his tried and tested watercolours; predominantly for friends and family.

Actively encouraged by the favourable feedback he would routinely receive when presenting his latest piece; Fielding left the sign-making profession in 1999 and announced his decision to become self-employed. This business as such involved both his personal art and a degree of business acumen as he pushed ahead with plans to provide innovative and bespoke gift ideas; alongside of continuing to pursue his art in terms of offering himself for painting commissions. The business module essentially manifest itself as a framed presentation which displayed Fielding’s illustrative compositions, only with the value added inclusion of the names of the inhabitants of a given Liverpool street. This concept caught on, and it wasn’t long before Fielding was picking up a local business award for his idea, as well as another in recognition of his design for a football-based board game too.

Fielding continued in this creative vein for the next few years making a success of himself and his art, yet it was only when he met and married his wife, Katie in 2005 that he seized the bull by the horns so to speak and sought collaboration with people an d bodies that would ensure his brand of art reached out and touched the lives of a whole new, untapped audience a bit further afield than his native Merseyside. Encouraged by his wife, Fielding approached fine art publishers with his contemporary style of painting, courting many of the UK’s leading light, before eventually striking a deal with Washington Green who Fielding has successfully worked with ever since. This relationship has seen Fielding’s limited edition prints appear in Washington Green’s enviable network of art galleries and associated venues across the country and really help get Fielding’s name in the contemporary art-buying public’s conscious.

Widely likened to the work of American artist, Eyvind Earle, Fielding’s hallmark pieces are artistically heightened by the objectivity of shapes and shadows, specifically those which are habitually cast at twilight and which typically stretch and elongate the view, ever-distant. Fielding explains; “This is why the cropping of my finished painting is important to me too. If I can somehow draw the viewer in, it will leave them wondering what lies just outside the view of the painting”. He loves the humour of birds congregating in huge numbers - sometimes on a telegraph wire or a tree - and yet go unnoticed by most people passing by and talks, animatedly about how he imagines that they must really like each other to hang around together so much. On this note Fielding adds; “I think the humour of my childhood comics is sometimes evident. I don't want my paintings to be too serious and would even like to make the viewer smile a little bit”. He goes on to add; “A completed work will often give me a feeling of deja-vu. It's as if I've visited the view before, perhaps I have and it has simply faded from my memory”.