My Life After Pensions

Outside the colourful life of the city, I apply colour to the canvas of life as a painter.
— Simon Chinnery

I haven’t always been a painter. I did Art A level but always felt rather under the shadow of my Father who was a ‘proper’ Artist who had gone to Chelsea Art College and went on to be a creative Advertising Director. I also felt rather bowed by my genetic inheritance. George Chinnery (1774-1852) was a prolific and very successful portrait and landscape painter who spent many of his latter years in India and then China. His Father was also a painter.

So I rebelled against my genes.

Following a three year stint living in a Buddhist community I took up Ballet after seeing a film about the famous, troubled Russian dancer, Nijinsky. Music, drama and dance all in one; that did it for me. I moved from Brighton to London, got a scholarship to the Urdang Academy in Covent Garden and immersed myself in all things artistic and hedonistic. From Monk to Punk in the twinkle of club lights. After training and touring for a bit with London City Ballet the natural next step in my life was….to work in the City.

Painting became part of my life again following a personal crisis that turned my world upside down. It was a long dark soul of the night thing. Think Gerald Scarf has a long lunch with Ralph Steadman and you get some way down that hole. I used inks and acrylic and lots of rage and I never showed anyone my monsters.

Over the last twenty years or so I have come back again and again to the canvas, slowly finding my pace with pigments and textures. I mainly paint abstracts in mixed media including acrylic, plant powders and oils. My work is full of energy and movement with my inspiration coming from natural landscapes, ‘colourscapes’ and the amazing worlds you can see if you look closely at things. I have a fascination with natural images of light, colour, abstract shapes and the cycle of growth and decay.

I use images from walks, gardens, city environments, often snapped on impulse as idea pigments that are then expressed on canvas in mixed media to try and capture these organic movements through the cycle of seasons. I’ve been told that there is a bit of dream-like messiness in my work as I try to articulate feelings into organic energy.

It's fun, and up until about ten years ago was largely a private affair. Then, following a party where I put my paintings on display, I got a chance to do a two week show at a friend’s gallery. The launch evening had a wonderful eclectic blend of friends and colleagues from all walks of life including the City, Media, and the Arts. I was terrified but it was fabulous. Since then, I have exhibited and sold my paintings at various events and shows, and have also hosted two of my own exhibitions in central London at the Framers Gallery (off Goodge Street).

These experiences – jumps in the dark – have taught me to ‘step up’ and be seen and have given encouragement to ‘bring together’ rather than ‘keep apart’. Risks are part of life and I believe I have grown by embracing risk in my work life as well as in my personal life. The City has a wealth of creative talent and I am convinced the more we can bring of ourselves, the more we can contribute, to the benefit of our relationships in and out of the City.