David Storey, 2011


Threadneedle Prize finalist David Storey is a British figurative painter. His psychologically charged paintings are about memory, with half-remembered people and places emerging from complex layers of texture and colour. David is represented in the UK by Panter and Hall, London.

David says, 'My feeling is that, for everyone, whether they think about it much day-to-day or not, memories remain self-defining. I come from West Cumbria, which is a bleak coastal plain, welded onto the side of the Lake District. The municipal buildings are built of sand stone that turns black when it rains... and it rains an awful lot. But my childhood there was a happy one so maybe that's why my work has a haunted feel to it – perhaps it's a kind of yearning.

'Personally, I find working with memory very therapeutic as well as creatively invaluable. For example, when I was six or seven years old, I was off school ill one day and my mother found an old jigsaw that she gave me to make. The problem was, the box didn't have a picture to follow. Anyway, I spent all day assembling the puzzle, which turned out to be a really haunting image: a painting of a bedroom shown in semi- darkness—deep maroon bedcovers, rich wall tapestries in bottle green and dark blue, with gold trim—and inside the bed a gaunt woman, either asleep or dead. Memories of experiences like this are hugely valuable to me. It has become a kind of paradigm. I become haunted by the image I'm working with and it's tremendously satisfying when I manage to get the milky idea from the back of my mind onto the canvas.

'I'm after a sort of 'hazy recollection' of an event. I love to 'feel the paint' when I'm working, it's an exhilarating way to work and when it's successful the paint has a wonderful expressionist quality. As I say, my aim is to capture a 'glimpse' of the action, without overworking it. I try to keep the use of a paint brush to a minimum and use rags, palette knives and my fingers instead. I hope my approach also loads the picture with a sense of movement and energy. As a result though, I admit, like many visually expressive artists, I've always had a problem knowing when a painting is finished.'

Richard Unwin, of the Art Collective, says of his work,

"Sharing in their fragility, the characters Storey depicts are aware they stand on the edge, but they are aware too that we who look on them are also fragile. The blurred faces gaze out as if to ask if we who exist now have forgotten those who went before and if we believe our experiences today are really unique; the couples trapped in tension stand as a mirror to all relationships, while the most haunting characters come as associates of Ebenezer's ghosts, ready to awaken us to who we truly are."

• Article by Richard Unwin
• Art Collective interview
• Watch the film 'Heart and Soul'
• Watch the Youtube film 'Paintings'

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott's album 'What Have We Become' with cover art by David Storey.

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott's new album 'Wisdom, Laughter and Lines' with cover art by David Storey.


"My paintings are about people – people 'glimpsed' from my subconscious mind. It often feels as if these people have chosen me and then won't let go.

Wherever possible I paint using my fingers, palette knives and rags instead of brushes, I achieve a much more expressive result and find I can create a fuller range of tones, colours, textures and lines working this way."



Born: 1954, Workington, Cumbria
Status: Married, one son, one step-daughter

1996 Slade School of Art, Summer School
1973 - 76 Middlesex University, BA honours degree, art & design
1972 - 73 Hornsey Art College, Foundation Course
1967 - 72 St. Bees School, Cumbria

Professional Experience:
1995 - present: Artist.
1986 - 94 Artist/designer, The Bureaux
1987 - 90 Visiting lecturer Central St. Martins, London
1983 - 85 Art Director, Chrysalis Records and 2-Tone Records
1979 - 82 Designer, Chrysalis Records and 2-Tone Records
1977 - 79 Designer, Rocket Records

Selected Shows:
2015 AAF, London
2015 Solo Show, Panter and Hall, London
2015 Saatchi Art Exhibition, 'Curated by Rebecca Wilson'
2014 AAF, Hamburg
2014 Art Southampton, New York
2014 Solo show, Thomas and Paul Contemporary, London
2014 AAF, London
2013 AAF, Hamburg
2013 'Prelude' at Thomas and Paul Contemporary, London
2013 AAF, London
2013 Finalist, Saatchi Art 'Showdown'
2012 Finalist, Threadneedle Prize Mall Galleries, London
2012 Finalist, The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition
2012 Saatchi Art exhibition '100 CURATORS 100 DAYS'
2011 Cultivate, Vyner Street Gallery
2011 Fern Felix, Glasgow
2011 ArtBeat Festival, Woburn
2010 The Coningsby Gallery, London
2008 Lautieri Moores Open, The Gallery in Cork Street
2005 Encounters, Brighton Museum and Art Gallery
2003 Sussex Open, Brighton Museum and Art Gallery
1999 Icons of Pop, National Portrait Gallery, London

Work owned by private collectors in several countries around the world including: France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Australia and the USA.

2011 BBC2 arts programme 'Show Me the Monet'


Article by Richard Unwin (2014)
Interview, The Art Collective (2013)


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© 2015 David Storey