Wolverhampton Society of Artists Logo

Wolverhampton Society of Artists Logo


Chris Manley

I was about 11 when I first experienced that delicious detachment where you step outside yourself, slip time and become part of your creative adventure. You, as well as your work, becoming one: complete harmony. Best of all, you have a souvenir to remind you of your transformation.

Laurie Lee wrote: ‘We are a starved society living in the midst of plenty. Our possessions are many our serenities few’. Art, and the craft of art, give me-give us-that serenity. Everyone’s work proclaims each piece’s uniqueness. Saying there is not another one quite like us in the world, for we are made by an artist’s hand.

For me, art educates the mind and nourishes the soul. I’m using it daily to explore ideas as well as emotions. Also it gives me a deeper understanding of the world around me. Lacking a formal art education for many years made me feel I was missing something. But it has proved to be liberating. Having never had the confinement of education’s convention or the commercial need for style. I have been able to freely explore abstraction, as well as traditions, values’ and the disciplines of the Edwardian master, such as John Singer Sargent, are a constant touchstone  that ground me when necessary. Now, an exciting new world has opened up to us in form of the digital age.

The media I work in is largely dictated by the subject matter, but of recent years I have been increasingly working with digital media. The advantages are: it is extremely intuitive with the freedom to take risks (I would be reluctant to pour some dramatic colour over a piece of work I had invested hours of work in, but on the computer you can revert to a previous state) also the work is never fully completed so opportunity for revision is always there. The drawback is you don’t get that visceral satisfaction of mark making, but in all other regards the spontaneity, transformation, absorption and satisfaction are the same.

What has surprised me, through all these years, is what that 11 year old experienced, when my creative adventure began, has never diminished.