Born in 1944 David Watson continues to paint daily from his hometown of Middlesbrough.
For over half a century, the painter has captured the communities, characters and identity of his native Teesside, his paintings set against the changing fortunes and gradual decline of steel manufacturing in North East England.
With no formal training, Watson is an outsider who tells with authenticity, integrity and humour an honest working class narrative of past, present and future within post industrial Britain.
'I paint what I know, all I know, the people, the works, those that have gone and what is left now. I'll keep painting until the man upstairs calls time then I'm off"
The importance of Northern art could not be more evident than in the work of Watson, born 1944 in Southbank, a suburb of Industrial Middlesbrough, less than 2 miles from where he still lives and continues to paint today. Watson’s subject matter largely concentrates on figures of labourers, often walking to and from, or at work, and industrial landscapes. For him capturing and recording his surroundings, both past and present, is imperative. Describing how he “breathed the soot, muck and dirt in everyday” and how “it’s inside me, it’s part of me, I used to marvel at specs of soot settling on me mam’s washing and an eerie pink glow in the sky.”
-Lily Indira Kirkby