Wolverhampton Society of Artists Logo

Wolverhampton Society of Artists Logo


Matthew James Ball

I live in Wolverhampton (well, Willenhall…) with my partner and am coming to the end of my doctorate in Ancient History at Oxford. I am a local boy, and have loved working with paper, pencil, and pen ever since I was a child. Other hobbies, interests, and jobs have come and gone, but the joy I get from observing the world through the medium of drawing has never left me. As with many people, the amount of time I had to devote to art increased with the arrival of the pandemic – one of its few positive lasting outcomes. I joined the Society in late 2023 in an effort to become better acquainted with the artistic community here in Wolverhampton.

At school, I took Art & Design as far as A-level but (to my regret!) never went any further with it, opting instead for degrees in ancient history/archaeology and jobs in museums. Drawing remains a pastime I carry on when time allows; I am largely self-taught, and am consequently still finding my style by a gradual process of trial and error.

My love of the past is apparent in my work, which focuses on the various historical sites and buildings that I love to visit in my spare time. The medieval churches, cathedrals, castles, abbeys, and various ruins that dot the landscape are probably our greatest collective inheritance from the past. I work in pencil and ink fine liner to produce views of these places – sometimes en plein air, but more often at home from photographs taken by me. It is the process of drawing that I most enjoy, rather than the outcome itself. Quite apart from its benefit to my own mental health and wellbeing, I have found that taking time to observe and check details leads to an even greater appreciation of the thing I am drawing – its finer details, idiosyncrasies, and overall construction. 

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