Finley Ralph


"I grew up in Sheffield and studied illustration in Manchester, graduating with a first in 2001.

For a number of years I worked exclusively with industrial printing inks, producing freehand engravings. Although much of my output at this time was commission based, I also exhibited both nationally and internationally, in London's Cork street and Mall galleries, in local galleries and as far afield as New York.

Having had a couple of years away from art, my current work represents a stark departure from what I've done previously. I have returned to 'proper' painting in acrylics, but really my whole approach has changed. After years of being elbow deep in black ink, just to be working with a full spectrum of colour is refreshing. 

Constructing a piece usually involves taking plenty of reference pictures and sketches.  I have the benefit of an abundance of willing young models who are, for the price of an ice cream, more than happy to assume various poses and positions. I also find a bit of modeling helps in the planning of a picture.  I'll often build rough mock-ups in miniature using found objects, 'nursery shrapnel', plasticine etc. This is something I've started doing to help visualise the layout of a composition, but I also find it helpful as a means to accurately place light and shadow etc.

With it's depictions of giant makeshift nursery automatons, I'm making art which is unashamedly self-indulgent. There are narratives which I always seem to return to, themes which surface time and again. Gluttony, misadventure, peril, death (to a lesser degree the latter, it has been noted).  Childhood is a prevalent theme in my current work.  Maybe that has come about from observing my own two [children], their behaviour (lack of it), their interaction with their peers, their naivety. " Finley Ralph 2016


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Visit Cupola Gallery for more details or contact:

Middlewood Road, Hillsborough, Sheffield,
S6 1TD
Tel. (0114) 285 2665
Opening Times Mon - Sat 10-6