An artist a day ft. Andrew Heathcote

This years Oldham Open features over 300 individual pieces from small intricately crafted jewellery to a large 6ft x 6ft mixed media canvas. The remarkable array of mediums, techniques and styles used demonstrates the talents and skills of local artists and craftspeople from the Oldham Borough.

To celebrate the opening of the Oldham Open we will be featuring a number of our exhibiting artists as guest bloggers, telling us a little about themselves and their work.

The next fantastic artist to feature as a guest blogger is…

Andrew Heathcote

1. Please can you give me a brief introduction about yourself and your work…

My name is Andrew and I work at Gallery Oldham as a Visitor Experience assistant. I have been a keen photographer since my teens. This is the 3rd time I have interested the Oldham Open but I have also entered the Saddleworth open exhibition and last year won 1st prize in the photography section. Last year Gallery Oldham staff had their own exhibition and 3 of my photos were on display.

2. Can you tell me about the work you have  about your inspiration for the piece, is this your usual type of work? What technique have you used and why?

The photograph I have entered to the Oldham Open is entitled “Bedouin spin dancer” Andrew Heathote image
A colour image I took whilst on holiday in Egypt a few years ago, as part of the holiday we have an evening at a Bedouin camp and after the meal, a traditional cabaret took place including spin dancers and as they danced I thought I would try to take a picture. I adjusted the exposure and shutter speed and held the camera steady and it turned out well. I don’t normally set out with my camera with a subject in mind I just see what catches my eyes and decide if it will take a good pictures. Be it landscape, wildlife or close up photography. One of my favourite photographers the American Ansell Adams said
“Before you set up the camera, take the picture in your mind” a philosophy I try and use.

3. Are you working on anything else at the moment?

At the moment I am not working on anything in particular, but as I always carry a small digital camera so something will probably appear.

4. What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you couldn’t make your work without?

I think an eye for detail is a very important artistic tool along with a sense of timing and judging exactly when to take the picture to create the best image.
Obviously my camera is my most important tool along with my computer and software although I do as little as possible to the image except cleaning minor imperfections.

5. When you’re not busy creating what do you like doing in your spare time? Any other hobbies or interests?

As well as photography, I collect vintage horror paperbacks and biographies. I am also a volunteer at Saddleworth museum and Art gallery. I have an interested in local history and as part of the research team wrote a book on the history of our WW1 war memorial which was published last year.

6. Which other artists do you admire or inspire your work? (famous or not!)

One of the people who have inspired me the most was an American landscape photographer called Ansel Adams (1902 – 1984) In the early 1920’s he packed up his station wagon and went off to photograph the American interior in particular the Californian Yosemite region. The resulting images persuaded the American government to create the first of many national parks to protect the areas Adams photographed. In terms of modern photographers my favourite is Ian Beesley who is stunning at both landscape and social photography and inspires me to think outside the box when using my camera.

7. What would people be surprised to find out about you?

Before I worked at the gallery I worked in the hotel industry and on one occasion I served tea to King Hussein of Jordan’s eldest daughters Princess Alia.

8. And lastly, do you have any inspiring tips or words to share with everyone?

Photography to me is a blend of instinct and creativity, so always take what you like and like what you take!

The Oldham Open is on until December 5, be sure to visit to see Andrews work and all of the other submitting artists and makers.

EvaD Ould-Okojie

Access and Interpretation Officer