The Pitmen Painters

Last night I went to see The Pitman Painters at The yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford. It is only on till the 11th, so go if you can! http://www.yvonne-arnaud.co.uk/

I didn’t know that much about this group of painters, so if you are like me here is a quick intro: “The “Ashington group” [pitmen painters] (act. 1934–1983) originated in October 1934 when men, mainly coalminers, from Ashington, Northumberland, began classes in art appreciation. It was a course without precedent in a mining village 16 miles, and a world away, from the nearest art gallery. The class, organized by the Workers’ Education Association (WEA), first met on 29 October 1934 and was initially attended by thirteen students, rising to twenty-four in the following week. The lecturer assigned to the course was Robert Lyon (1894–1978)” (taken from http://www.oxforddnb.com/templates/article.jsp?articleid=98138&back=).

I thought the play was brilliant. Funny, aesthetically simplistic stage, believable actors, and great visuals using projections of the real artists work. The story left me feel inspired to want to see art, the world and to paint the things in my life. It reminded me that creating work that you think others will like can be false to you, and become stagnant and dull. The processes of making art for your enjoyment, as well as to make a comment, can be wonderful and beautiful and engaging. Go paint people!

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Further reading:
http://www.in-between.org.uk/performance/the-pitmen-painters/
http://www.ashingtongroup.co.uk/home.html

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