Neil Pinkett hopes to brighten people’s day with his new Showcase Gallery exhibit at the South Cariboo Business Centre.
The show. which has no official name or theme, features a collection of 16 oil and acrylic works from vivid landscapes to abstract colourful scenes and even paintings of Pinkett’s cat. Most of the inspiration for the paintings comes from living in the Cariboo, Pinkett said, such as Ruth Lake, the Lake of the Trees and Trophy Mountain.
“There’s one brand new piece in there but I’m saving most of my newest work for a couple of group shows at Parkside Gallery in the next few months,” said Pinkett, who moved to the South Cariboo in 2008. “I didn’t select them with any plan in mind other than I wanted to put some colour in there because people would probably like some greens and colours of summer after the long winter.”
For Pinkett, art had always been in the background. As a young man growing up in England, Pinkett tried to ignore his artistic gifts.
“I used to just draw. I guess I was good at art at school and I was encouraged by my art teacher to go to art college,” Pinkett recalled. “I guess I was being a contrarian at the time and I became a gardener instead, which wasn’t a great fit.”
After trying his hand at various other jobs over the years, he kept returning to art although initially, he could only afford to draw. When Pinkett was gifted some oil paints and other supplies by a complete stranger, it gave him the boost he needed to commit to art full time. That was in 2006. Since then, Pinkett said he’s never looked back.
Two years later, Pinkett, who had emigrated to Canada from the UK in 1998, established himself as a part of the local art community in the South Cariboo. These days, he is more of a painter than a sketcher. For him, painting isn’t for pleasure but is his living, which he enjoys greatly.
Completely self-taught, Pinkett grows his skills through practice, learning from others and watching documentaries. He’s avoided formal schooling in the arts because he’s heard that universities tend to “process students and pump them out of the other end of the course all looking and talking the same.” Pinkett said he’s always preferred walking his own path rather than going with the crowd.
One of the main reasons he chose to settle in 100 Mile House was because of Parkside Gallery which he felt indicated there was a good art community to join.
“I always gravitate towards living in rural conditions, I’m not particularly happy in the city.”
Pinkett’s show runs until Tuesday, May 4.