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Members Highlight - Jack Greenwood

In this fortnight's Members highlight I chatted to Jack Greenwood. Jack is a painter who works with acrylic. “ I take inspiration from my strange and troubled past and how that affects my present day to day existence. Other times I paint what's around me and try to find beauty even in the mundane, often adding symbolism to express ideas.”

​Themes in Jack’s work include struggles with mental health, addiction, the idea of feeling alien in this world and what it means to come to terms with those difficulties in an attempt to find peace.

“Although dark themes can run through my work, there is usually a sense of humour present as that is a coping mechanism I use in life that I like to see reflected in my art. ​I'll be happy to leave behind a body of work that expresses what it was like to experience life in this body on this planet at this time from my point of view.”

Jack has work in homes in Canada, across the U.S.A, in Spain, Switzerland, Australia and around England.

Hi Jack, Where are you from and where are you currently based? 

Originally from Bradford, West Yorkshire, I lived in London for 20 years but now live in Somerset.

Did you always want to be an artist/creative? What inspired you to pursue your creativity? 

I wanted to be an artist since I was little. I stopped going to school when I was 14 but got on a first diploma in art and design. Unfortunately I had an unstable life and dropped out soon after and worked in jobs I hated for the next twenty odd years. After seeing various art programs on TV I decided I wanted to follow my dream of becoming an artist and I told myself, this time I wouldn't give up, no matter what. I now paint nearly every day.

What was your trajectory into the creative world like? 

I started painting in 2019 and people seemed to like my work as I shared it on social media.

Various people bought my work which gave me a lot of hope. We moved from London to Somerset in 2021 so there was a pause in my creativity. In 2022 I decided to start trying to get more visibility for my art and started entering open calls. My funds are limited so I could only enter a certain amount. I had quite a few rejections but a little success also.

I was in various exhibitions, including the ING Discerning Eye Exhibition 2022 and 23. I still have no education so it's all a learning curve trying to work out how to self promote.

What have been the biggest barriers you’ve faced as a working class creative? 

I think, always having poor mental health with no help for that, being failed in education at the early stages and not having strong role models led to me having to find my own way.

This means that with my art I'm starting from a place as an outsider to the art world.

Also, starting so late in life as I'm now 47 means having to learn everything now.

Fortunately in present times we have the internet which opens up a whole area of self learning and I'm just so glad to have found the WCCD resourse.

What are you working on/ thinking about at the moment? 

Between 2021 & 2023, I completed a series of work titled Strange & Sometimes Troubled Memories. This was a series of 21 paintings exploring memories that impacted my life in some way.  It explores themes such as growing up in poverty, mental health, self harm and problems with alcohol and drugs. Once each painting was completed I would write a blog post relating the story behind the painting. 

Last year a filmmaker approached me and wanted to make a documentary in an unusual style about the series and stories. So at the moment I spend some of my time promoting that. I've currently started a follow up series to that which will explore more memories but not necessarily pivotal moments. I feel very excited to be at the beginning of my career as an artist as I have so many ideas to explore and each day I learn something about myself.

Describe a project you’ve completed that you’re proud of.

The film and series of the same name Strange & Sometimes Troubled Memories is the only project I've completed so far as I'm still new to exploring my creativity but I'm very proud of both of them.

Why is art/creativity important to you? 

Art has given me a sense of purpose and also self worth. I grew up feeling like such a loser all my life and didn't feel like I could achieve anything. Once I sobered up in my 30's and made that decision to follow my dream it changed my life. It helped massively with my mental health. It made me feel like a person with worth.  I never thought I could be good enough as an artist but once I tamed my poor attention span and focused I realised I was an artist, I'd just never given myself the chance. I still have a long way to go but my life is completely different now. Art keeps me on the straight and narrow, it gives me hope.

What/who are your biggest inspirations? Where do you find inspiration? 

A lot of my inspiration comes from within, as I come to terms with who I am.

It's hard to pick certain artists as I love so much work I see but I get a lot out of Instagram as I see so many artists I like on there. I listen to art podcasts which I've only discovered recently, these are so inspirational and educational for me.

As I've never been a part of the art world and am still quite reclusive, I learn so much from hearing other artists talk about their practices and different ideas about art.

Describe your dream project.

At some point I want to have a solo exhibition of my Strange and Sometimes Troubled Memories series, my ideal scenario would be to do an installation of a run down, retro style bedsit as the space with the paintings and stories on the walls and the film running on a tv.

I'd like to have this exhibition in various places, not just a one off.

My biggest dream though is just to have an income as an artist and spend the rest of my days painting and have someone else deal with all the promotion.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Get sober, believe in yourself, stop wasting time, otherwise the years will fly past and you'll be an old loser trying to make your way in the world. You are capable of being a success if you learn how to focus. Only have positive people in your life. Stop worrying and enjoy life, but life is 100% more enjoyable if you are not wasted and are following your dreams. Treat every day as an exciting opportunity. Be kind. Soak up every bit of learning you can. Meditate and keep fit. Don't worry what other people think of you as long as you're being true to yourself and a good person. Eat good food and treat yourself regularly with gifts.

How can the WCCD Community and readers support you and your creative practice?

I suppose any exposure for my work is good. Finding the right audience is hard so any help with that is invaluable. Finding suitable places to exhibit and basically if anyone knows of anyone who would find my work interesting. Any advice on anything to do with being an artist, specifically a painter would be so appreciated.

If you want to see more of Jack’s work you can view his profile here

You can contact Jack via email at:

Or follow him on Instagram here

If you are a WCCD Member and would like to be featured in our next members highlight you can fill in this form.

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