ARTISTIC talent is proving big business for former student David Thompson who is about to take up a residency in New York.
David, who studied fine art at Newcastle College, has been offered an opportunity of a lifetime by North-East based company Whelan Construction.
The construction and development business is sponsoring a three-month international artists’ residency programme in the Big Apple as well as commissioning David to provide paintings and sculptures for its headquarters in Gosforth Business Park.
David, who before the sponsorship had been working a 60-hour week in a factory to raise funds for his residency, said: “As a recent graduate this experience is more than I could ever have asked for.
“It has given me much needed confidence in my abilities and has opened up a fantastic future for me to develop as an aspiring artist. I am so grateful to Whelan for having such faith in me and still can’t believe they are sponsoring me through my residency. I can’t wait to see my artwork in place when I return.”
Whelan – which was ranked 174th in The Journal’s Top 250 companies – had approached Newcastle College’s BA Hons in creative practice programme during its search for fresh and local talent to produce new artwork to help it celebrate its 35th year in business.
It wanted to find art in keeping with its new contemporary headquarters, and, because of his unique metal work and sculptures, David was invited to submit proposals.
The company was instantly impressed by his professionalism and commitment to the brief
and commissioned an exterior steel and glass triangular sculpture with 35 levels to reflect
Whelan’s 35-year history; an interior glass block
wall hanging display, marking staff milestones for time worked at the firm; and a modern painted canvas.
David sets off for Brooklyn in New York next month. At Point B Residency Work Lodge – an international base for art and science professionals – he will be able to develop his fine art practice in his private studio. He also hopes to exhibit in galleries.
Tony Whelan, managing director at Whelan, said: “His interpretation of the brief was brilliant, as were his concepts and delivery.
“We were so impressed with his talent and attitude that we extended our support to sponsorship.”