Neil Kilby

2-8 July 2014


  • Is art in nature or nature in art? A question which has undoubtedly been asked on numerous occasions over the years. Does art need to be taught or is it a skill we inherit?


  • I was born in Birmingham on the 13th of February, 1952. From the age of seven, I would watch my dad sketch faces on the margins of our local paper, The Birmingham Evening Mail. I believe I inherited his ability to draw. I remember drawing and painting whenever I got the chance. Unfortunately, I never followed it up, although I did attend evening classes after leaving school, to try to learn more about art.


  • On leaving school, I went to work in a market garden / nursery, then followed this with a couple of years at Edgbaston Botanical Gardens. I also worked as a wedding ring maker in the Birmingham jewellery quarter, later on as a printer, before eventually, aged 23, finding something more artistic and training to be a sign-writer with a company in Birmingham city centre. I realised that my new job of sign-writing enabled me to express myself freely and it encouraged me to spend more of my spare time painting.


  • Following the death of my wife in 2002 from pancreatic cancer, I gave up sign-writing and decided to go to France, becoming inspired by the beautiful surroundings, comprising a carp-filled lake and an oak forest in a quiet, undiscovered part of the Dordogne.


  • In France, I concentrated on painting, but, whilst looking after the forest, I discovered the possibilities of working with the wood. I realised that, in my work, there was a need to capture the feelings and emotions that spread over my life.


  • I explored the possibilities of extending a piece of art outwards, reaching out to be touched, to have the painting discovered in its texture.


  • I hope my work reflects my feelings about what I love about the human form and all things in nature.



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