Young Artist-in-Residence

We are beside ourselves with the excitement of launching our Young Artist-in-Residence programme – the first in the Gallery’s 79 year history! We are DELIGHTED to announce that the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery Inaugural Young Artist in Residence is…….. JAMES KEEL.

James is an A Level student at New College, Swindon, studying Fine Art, Photography and Media Studies. He has a particular interest in drawing and eventually hopes to use his skills in the creative industries.

James will be working on creative responses to help interpret and explore Swindon’s nationally significant collection. He will also act as a young ambassador for the Gallery, looking to inspire other young people with an interest in art and making the Collection more accessible to a wider age-range.

To see some of James’ amazing work, follow him on Instagram: @jameskeelcreates

The Young Artist programme from Swindon Museum and Art Gallery aims to celebrate, promote and re-invigorate the Swindon Collection of Modern British Art, at the same time as providing a unique development opportunity in a professional arts environment for young Swindon artists.

For his first commission, we asked James to explore ideas of mental health. We asked him to use the Swindon Collection of Modern British Art as inspiration and to consider the impacts of the difficult situation we currently find ourselves in. This is the image from the Collection which he used as a springboard. James said “I really like the atmosphere it gives off, the emotion of fear, the sense of movement, and how well it captures the face and life of the model. I wanted to do the same in my pieces.”

And what a powerful series of works James has produced. James highlights the importance of art for mental health: “It helps me to relax when stressed or anxious and has helped me to express how I feel. I enjoy expressing myself artistically because it gives others an insight into how I’m feeling at a particular time. It is very important for young people to have access to art as a way of processing and dealing with thoughts and emotions.” We heartily agree James. Thank you so much for these pieces and congratulations on your first professional commission!

Eyes Wide Shut series, 2020, acrylic on paper