Monday, 28 March 2011

Martin Beek talks about himself, his art and JKPP

Martin Beek, one of the organisers of Saturday’s Oxford JKPP meet-up, provides an insight into himself, his art and his involvement with JKPP.

His Flickr photostream has over 19,000 photos and artworks by him and others – something he feels reflects life as he lives it now. See

In his profile he notes, “Flickr is a significant part of my creative life. Through Flickr I’ve made contact with so many like-minded people... I have always felt strongly that art should be shared.”

Tell us a little about yourself

I am a practising artist, although I do have a day job too. I studied Fine Art (BA Hons) and have had many public shows over the past 30 years. I live in Oxford, England and currently work in a representational style. I see art as an ongoing

process of change and build on what I have done to explore new ways of expressing the world as I see it.

Tell us a little about your art

As an artist I work in a very wide range of media. Currently I use oil pastel/crayon and also pen and ink for my sketch studies. But I've covered most methods over the years. I believe art should somehow reflect and connect with emotion and, to that extent, I am an expressionistic artist.

I can find a subject in most things around me. I like art that is both contemporary but an art that also connects with the ongoing tradition of art history. I would hope that my art, taken as a whole, does have a meaning and a sense of purpose.

Tell us about your technique

Colour and "mark making" are of vital importance to me as they suggest the subject and the mood I wish to convey. I hope my technique is uncomplicated , but realise that sometimes one needs to push a work to develop as a visual artist.

Tell us about the reaction you have had to your work

On the whole I think reaction to my work has been fair. Although I'm not unafraid of helpful criticism, I’m rarely guided by what others may say about what I do - good or bad. I respect anybody who passes informed criticism and hope I am my own most severe critic.

Tell us about who inspired/inspires you

Impossible to name three artists that I would cite but, if I had to, the Victorian painter John Everett Millais, whose own art underwent huge changes of technique, interests me greatly - not just his Pre Raphaelite work, which was short lived, but his later landscapes and portraits. His visual acuity and brilliance should not be dismissed or overlooked. I think David Hockney is inspirational for his restless eye and ceaseless production as is Van Gogh, for his transformation of the common life into a new visual language that is so powerful and vital.

I'm also inspired by the new Google art gallery views. It takes me to places I may not see, and experience glimpses of art in far off places. See

Tell us about you and JKPP

The JKPP has been, since the start, an entirely positive group that I find fascinating to participate in. It has enabled good connections with artists from all over the planet, and is inspirational in its simplicity of intent.


  1. Really interesting interview, thank you both!
    I'm very surprised to hear that you have a day job! It's amazing how much time you manage to devote to your art, you are easily one of the most productive artists I know. And your work is beautiful! :-)

  2. I also agree strongly with Martin's comment about sharing art. Interestingly, having an actual audience on flickr has made me much less interested in having formal shows, which are alot of work, often an expense, and you mostly don't get to find out how visitors to the show respond.