Adam King

Accomplished artist Adam King is a Fine Art lecturer at Harrogate School of Art and Design (HSAD) and Art and Design programme leader on our Diploma and Foundation programmes.

A painter and print-maker who uses a range of media and techniques, he responds to his natural and architectural surroundings, saying:

“I am inspired by the world around me. My work is from indirect observation, the things you absorb through life and respond to.”

With a prolific body of respected work, Adam believes concerns about “good” and “bad” art need to be pushed aside in order to create and strives to pass on this message to his students. He says:

“My practice is very quick, manic. I find it compulsive, almost like an addiction. I don’t really know why I do it, I just have a compulsion to create. Once I have an idea in me, it has to come out. Then I do it over and over again until I get it right, repeating the practice until the lines are fluid and perfect.”

He exhibits his work widely in public collections, studios and through residencies, and specialises in Medieval painting and processes. Adam has been a practising artist since the late 1970s, joining the Faculty of Arts team as a lecturer in 2004.

Adam’s work can be seen in public collections, including those at the University of Leeds, Leeds Metropolitan University, Harrogate’s Mercer Gallery, and in online galleries such as the BBC’s Your Pictures. He shows work in group exhibitions up to eight times per year. He has strong connections with North Yorkshire Open Studios, having previously judged the competition and opens his own studio doors to members of the public every year.

“I like that feeling of being put on the spot and wondering how I’m going to respond quickly to the challenge,” he says, of the Open Studios initiatives. “I am proud that people appreciate and support the work that I do … that I am able to produce work, exhibit and sell.”

His current research interest is a studio-based response to the artistic works and lives of North Yorkshire’s celebrated Sitwell family. “My studio in Scarborough is opposite Wood End creative space, which was once the home of the Sitwell family,” says Adam, who recently contributed to an exhibition at Wood End gallery, and is currently planning a solo exhibition at the venue.

While studying for a degree in Fine Art at Leeds Metropolitan University, he began to explore Medieval painting processes, which naturally progressed into one strand of his diverse professional practice. He also has an MA in Fine Art from York St John’s University and a PGCE. Prior to working in education, he ran art galleries in Bath and Harrogate.

“As an artist, my style has developed over the years,” says Adam. “The Medieval process involves working with raw, ground pigments with traditional binding agents such as egg yolk or caisin, a lactose by-product of milk.”

In 2004, as artist in residence at Knaresborough Castle, this knowledge came into its own, as Adam produced work in response to the Medieval castle, stripping back layers of historical palimpsest.

And in 2005-6, as artist in residence at York Minster, he mapped the only surviving Medieval draughtsman’s floor in the minster, and developed the process of making prints from inscriptions in a plaster floor in his own work.

“I love passing on my enthusiasm and skill on to my students,” he says. “I’ve spent my whole life pushing the creative industry. As artists, we cannot simply say we can do it, we have to get on with it. We will always be learning, it’s one of those careers that you never retire from.”

Visit Adam’s website:


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