Malcolm Croft from Bramhall is keen to encourage young artists

Last month we launched the Cheshire Life Young Artist of the Year competition. Head judge Malcolm Croft from Bramhall is keen to encourage young artists. Here we display some of his highly acclaimed paintings

Head judge Malcolm Croft developed his artistic career fairly late in life. He used to be an award-winning newspaper photographer but he taught himself to paint following a serious road accident which forced him to give up photojournalism.

But his lively landscapes and vivid still life paintings soon caught the imagination of collectors and galleries. Malcolm, from Bramhall, often credits an article in Cheshire Life in 2009 as giving his artistic career an important boost.

He said: ‘Since the article by Robert Leeming in Cheshire Life in 2009 it’s fair to say my life has changed hugely. I’ve had sell-out solo shows at one of the region’s top galleries and been featured on television, radio and in the press. I was shortlisted for the John Moores 2010 (Britain’s top painting prize) and I’m being talked about as a future star of the Northern art scene.

I still meet people who discovered my work through Robert’s article. For someone who began teaching themselves to paint less than seven years ago it has been quite some journey.

‘My work is generally accepted to be joyous and it’s a happy accident that “feelgood art” is making waves at the moment - upbeat paintings for economically depressed times. Artists of the calibre of Tracey Emin are at the forefront of the movement to produce art that raises the spirits. As I began painting in order to cheer myself up it’s heartwarming that the people who buy my work get so much pleasure and joy from it.’

Malcolm makes his work in three studios: one at his home in Bramhall, one in an old cotton mill in Stockport and one in the attic of his house in the South of France. Malcolm finds the climate there to be health-giving.

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Malcolm’s 2012 solo show opens at the new Collect Art gallery in Alderley Edge on Friday June 22nd. Titled ‘La Joie de Vivre’, it features his trademark landscapes - but with a French twist.

Enter the 2012 Cheshire Life Young Artist of the Year competition