'Failed' artist celebrates Blackburn exhibition

1:30pm Saturday 17th May 2014

By Dan Clough

WHEN Sonny Barker left school with an E in his art GCSE, becoming an artist might have seemed unlikely.

But the 39-year-old has proved its never too late to learn by gaining a degree in ‘interactive arts’.

Sonny, of Avondale Road, struggled with his school work at St Bede’s in Blackburn, but went on to study at Manchester Metropolitan University anyway.

And now he has opened an exhibition at the Blackburn Is Open shop in the town centre to showcase his talent.

He said: “I didn’t do so well in art when I was at school but what I do now is not really what they teach in schools.

“I have been called a ‘process artist’ and I guess the stuff we did in textiles was more relevant and I did a bit better at that.”

Sonny, whose ON:Paper exhibition will run for another week in King William Street, has been working with students at University Centre at Blackburn College (UCBC).

He said: “I signed up as an artist in-residency through the Artists Access To Art Colleges program at UCBC, where I work within the BA Fine Art studio.

“This program brings artists into art colleges to show how they work and to hold workshops.

“I have centered my tenure on working with students on their artist’s statements.

“I am interested in how the statement can be made into manifestos and have a concrete aspect on the career of an artist and the almost abstract life of a studio.”

Sonny, who is turning the statements into a book, said he was hoping it could one day be adapted for the stage.

Describing the exhibition, he said: “I am showing the work that I carried out with the students that includes 24 pieces of work, various drawings based on eight-bit computer matrix paper, various collages and 42 studies of randomly folded paper.”


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