New life and career for Australian artist who settled here

Seaside fun:  From the left Steven Lord, Shireley Tolliday, Jane Tesseyman and artist Mark Sofilas
Seaside fun: From the left Steven Lord, Shireley Tolliday, Jane Tesseyman and artist Mark Sofilas

WORKING thousands of miles from his native Australia, artist Mark Sofilas has found true inspiration in the beaches and bays of the Yorkshire coast.

A year after his first sell-out exhibition, Mark has returned to the Harrison Lord Gallery in Brighouse to give his second major solo show.

Harbourside

Harbourside

The exhibition will feature 24 beach and harbour scenes by the former advertising illustrator who achieved a long-held ambition when he moved to the UK in 2008 and got the chance to start working as an artist in his own right.

“The light and the landscape are Yorkshire’s great attributes - apart from the beer! - and these have given me a new life and career,” he said.

“I have drawn inspiration for this latest exhibition from my numerous visits to the east Yorkshire coastline. I’m from a family with a long history of commercial fishing and, since arriving in the UK, I have developed a real affinity with the sea-faring townships that are dotted along the coast.”

While he was involved in the commercial art world in Sydney, Mark created artwork for such high-profile household names as Coca-Cola, Cadbury, Qantas and the Australian Cricket Board.

But in Yorkshire it is the subtle light of the northern hills and the region’s sense of history that has helped him find a new focus for his career.

“I find the Yorkshire coast and landscape truly inspiring. Something just triggered me to think I had found my true direction. I feel as if I’m seeing Yorkshire for the first time which obviously adds something to my paintings.”

Mark is particularly struck by the changes of the seasons and the effects of the climate on the landscape. Painting full-time at his studio in Leeds, he acknowledges that two of Yorkshire’s favourite artists have been an inspiration to him: Calderdale-born Peter Brook and David Hockney.

Steven Lord, of the Harrison Lod Gallery, said: “We are really excited about the forthcoming exhibition after Mark’s sell-out show last year. It will bring a welcome dash of the seaside to Brighouse.”

The exhibition, ‘Boats, Beaches and Bays’, will run until Saturday, October 27. For more information contact 01484 722462.

See this week’s what’s on listings in The Guide emag

Our iPad app users should click ‘Paper’ at the bottom of the screen to view this week’s Courier in full. The Guide starts on page 77.