I’m Electric You’re Electric

This week Manchester Craft and Design Centre opened a new exhibition of neon light installations by artist Richard William Wheater. The Craft and Design Centre is a fantastic local venue for artists to showcase their work, and this latest exhibition is sure to bring new customers to the centre.

Richard works in print, performance and installation and has been creating since backpacking in Europe as a teenager, where he was inspired by the sights. Now, Richard gets inspiration from speaking to people and looking out for interesting sights on his commute to and from work.

Gaining enjoyment from sharing his work with others and hoping it will provide them with pleasure, the only thing he dislikes it that he can no longer see his pieces once they’re sold! Richard is lucky enough to have his ideal workspace – a bit, minimal white space just outside Wakefield in Yorkshire, UK, and works mostly to commission – though his artist books are available through Amazon.

“Not many artists work in neon, even less are developing it in a hands-on sense,” says Richard. “I benefit from being one of only a few artists that develop and make neon. Often it’s the idea that I promote, usually through a media story or in on-line forums and what’s on guides.”

“My concern [with the UK art scene] lies with the lack of funding for material-based arts courses in UK colleges and universities. It’s here where we should be inviting students to explore the creative possibilities of such materials, though apart from Neon Workshops, there is nowhere in Britain where one can even learn about or play with neon.”

“It’s crucial to have the support of exhibiting in spaces that not only have resources to help promote ones work but the ability to financially support an exhibitor to make and install new work. Without this support, less new inspired work is made, and therefore less chance for general public to become inspired by what they might see.”

I’m Electric You’re Electric runs at the Manchester Craft and Design Centre from February 12 to April 30. Visit www.craftanddesign.com for full details.

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