User Account


Gavin Lenaghan

Other (BA 1st Class Hons Fine Art, 2009 / 2009)


What is your favourite film of all time?

No specific favourite to be honest, although cinematic influences are prevalent in a number of my projects nonetheless!

What music are you currently listening to and why?

Always just a bit of anything and everything at any one time, really. I don’t have any distinctive preferences in my opinion – whether it impacts on my work or not.

Which living artists do you most admire and why?

Artists interested in themes to which I can easily relate within my own practice: Katy Moran (the vagaries of representation), George Shaw (landscape, work that produces feelings of the Romantic, through paintings of depopulated underpasses and discarded swings - I’m a big fan of all work like that which focuses on the strange, incongruous Romanticism of the “non place”) and Euan Uglow, Jenny Saville and Lucian Freud (the figure). I’m also highly appreciative of the particularly approachable, humane and in some cases humorous ‘name’ artists whose practice, in theory, has little to do with mine: Banksy, Andy Goldsworthy, Richard Long…

Which deceased artist do you most admire and why?

The original generation of Romantic artists: William Blake, John Martin and Turner, perhaps Blake above all for his humane and creative idiosyncrasies and the manner in which his visual art and poetry intertwined in his “illuminations”.

Which exhibition that you have visited made the greatest impact on you and why?

No one exhibition that I can think of that I’d particularly pick out. I’ve always loved the study of the broad expanse of art history across many centuries, so find myself drawn most anyway to the rotating collection displays of the Obvious regional, national and international galleries and museums (the Tate, Pompidou, Louvre, d’Orsay, Prado, the Laing, BALTIC and Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art galleries closer to home in the North East) whenever I’m in those cities. ‘mima’ in Middlesbrough has been a great resource in recent years with its shows on the Naked and the Nude, Gerhard Richter and Katy Moran in recent years.

What is the question you get asked most frequently about your work and how do you answer it?

I suppose I get asked a great deal about how I produce works that are of a particular style and medium not even being used by many fellow artists I know, such as the sugarlift etchings and woodcuts on paper, as, when these Technical processes are combined with my much practiced imaginative drawing style, the results can look quite unlike that of any other artist I ever exhibit alongside.

What / who inspired you to be an artist?

One of my earliest memories as a child is being given a ring binder containing several hundred leafs of A4 paper, so as to give me and my twin brother our first way of “passing the time”. As twins, we effectively developed our own “language” together, including a creative one, where we’d invent our own cartoon characters for comic strips which we’d draw and create adventures for. In that sense, early sources of creative encouragement included the Beano and Dandy comics and children’s TV.

Can you tell us about where you make your art and what if any the significance of this location is?

I make spontaneous sketches in my bedroom or living room, paint in my bedroom or University studio, create prints either at the University or at a local printmaking studio surrounded by other artists and technicians, and photograph amid the abrasive hustle-and-bustle of the town/city environment. The contrasts are the revealing thing: in town, you’re “in the field”, while my home life is about something totally different; giving myself the time simply to think. There, my only wish is to just block out the background noise of the world and “be”, in a way I just couldn’t almost anywhere else, whether I’m making work or not.

What do you like most about being an artist?

The sense of self-assurance which comes from the feeling that here I am, doing the most sovereign thing of all, which is being myself, if the expression of “being myself” doesn’t sound too complacent, overconfident or even Fatalistic, which I certainly hope it doesn’t. Nonetheless, nobody can deny me my freedom and ability to showcase my individuality through the creative impulse whether it produces “simply” thoughts and feelings, or drawings, paintings, prints, photography and writing. There’s also that sense of brotherhood you get from being in the company of, and interacting with, fellow artists and art lovers in the various wider creative circles.

What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?

I feel very guilty for being tempted to answer this question in ‘professional’ terms rather than purely artistic ones… Still, graduation aside, from a professional point of view, it would possibly be having a piece of work accepted into a very regionally significant exhibition in Richmond at my first attempt, not to mention in the face of obviously Fierce competition from right across the North East and Yorkshire areas of England. What made it all even sweeter was the fact that the particular chosen work, a framed print, hadn’t even made it into my Degree Show just a few months earlier.

What are your plans for the coming year?

I intend to keep on making work in all mediums as much as possible, and to exhibit on a more national and international basis than I have done so far. I also wish to explore my various theoretical and written interests, and am Also keeping on the lookout for relevant residencies and fellowships opportunities. As part of my next project I have a series of self-portraits underway.

Latest artwork - View all by this artist

  • Alternation Series 2010, I
  • Outside Teesside University, II
  • Town Hall, I
  • Outside Teesside University, I
  • Vicinity of Stockton on Tees Railway...
  • Chairs At Eaglescliffe Station

Artist's statement

I am an artist and writer mostly concerned with nominally two-dimensional creative forms, consisting of drawing, painting, printmaking, photography and modest sculptures, and within such themes as landscape, the human figure and the relationship between the public and the private, the observational and the imaginative, and words or text and the visual image. My constant and incisive flitting between different media is a key characteristic of my work, and my principal interests of present are the possible ways of interlinking these disparate themes and media.

I am a member of Northern Print Studio and mima Friends, as well as a former member of the now-defunct Middlesbrough Arts People and the arts collective founded by the 2008-2009 intake of Teesside University MA art and design students, CollectiveOne. I have also written Degree Show reviews for the A-N Unedited website, as well as reviews of Middlesbrough exhibitions for the Teesside University Students' Union newspaper, P.T.O. (later The Terrace Star) and the Middlesbrough Evening Gazette.

In addition to my two Fine Art degrees (BA and MA) from Teesside University, I have previously undertaken other art-related short courses and classes at Cleveland College of Art & Design, Teesside University, Northumbria University and Camberwell College of Arts (University of the Arts London).


2013- 'Show Us Your Art 2013' at TBC venue, Middlesbrough (upcoming)
2010- 'Spot On The Wall' at The Station, Richmond, North Yorkshire
2010- ‘The Imaginary Parlour’ at WE ARE OPEN, Middlesbrough
2010-‘Gavin Lenaghan: Recent Investigations’ at ARC, Stockton on Tees
2010- ‘Under the Bed Sale’ at Gallery TS1, Middlesbrough
2009- 'Made:Amaze', Athena Building, Teesside University.
2009- 'WHAT EVER NEXT',Teesside University, Middlesbrough.
2009- 'Printmaking', Phoenix Building, University of Teesside, Middlesbrough
2009- 'Deftnicity', Middlesbrough Town Hall, Crypt.
2008- '5x7', Gallery TS1, Middlesbrough.
2008- 'Northern Footprints' at Northern Print Studio, Newcastle Upon Tyne.
2008- 'A1 Open Summer Art Exhibition 2008',The Station, Richmond, North Yorkshire.
2008- 'BA (Hons) Fine Art Degree Show: KAIROS Follow Up Exhibition', Python Gallery, Middlesbrough.
2008- 'BA (Hons) Fine Art Degree Show: KAIROS', Constantine Building, University of Teesside, Middlesbrough.
2007- 'Climate of Consciousness' at Kitch-en, Middlesbrough.
2006- 'MAP presents... Showreel: Aftershow Party' including 'MAP ShowReel' and 'The Canvas Project' at Middlesbrough Town Hall, Crypt.
2006- 'Arts for all Exhibition' at Sport & Recreation Building, University of Teesside, Middlesbrough.
2005/6- 'Fluxus' at Arc, Stockton on Tees.
2005- 'Student Art Exhibition' at Stokesley Town Hall.
2004- 'Student Art Exhibition' at Stokesley Town Hall, North Yorkshire.

Achievements & Awards

2008 Peter Hicks Prize for Landscape Painting

Recently sold artwork

  • Sky At Staithes
  • Alternation Series, II