Julian Swift

Julian Swift lived in Thixendale for several years.

Following a professional life working as a graphic designer / illustrator and creative director in advertising and design groups, he started painting for his own pleasure in 1996.

In effect, he returned to his first love of figurative fine art which he’d studied at Manchester University in the 1960’s.

Yorkshire landscapes / seascapes and still life studies occupy him some of the time but his ‘straw people’ drawings and paintings created the most interest in three recent exhibitions he held in Germany.

The straw people came to life in his imagination in the 1990’s when he witnessed two scarecrows appearing to conduct a conversation in a field of cabbages in Norfolk. The wind caused boiler suits, filled with straw, to gesticulate convincingly. Soon he had created a whole sub-strata of society utilising those things we throw away like bicycles and animal feed sacks. There is pathos and humour in many of the straw paintings when these imaginary ‘people’ strive to fit in with human society, unsuccessfully.

Julian also wrote two books. The first, Flying Bricks and Grizzly Bears is autobiographical and describes his early life in one of the dirtiest back streets in Manchester. The tales are both touching and humorous. It was published in 2009.

The second book is Merlin and his Teapot Eagles: Don’t Talk to Partridge Chicks and was published in 2012. It is a children’s book set in a dangerous world seen through the eyes of small creatures who defeat their predators with cunning, guile and some humour. The earth beneath your feet will never look quite the same after you’ve read about their struggle to survive.