Tim Shorten was born in Bolton, Lancashire. He studied at Bolton College of Art & Design, Preston Polytechnic Department of Fine Art (now UCLan), and Leeds Polytechnic (Leeds Beckett University). He was Head of Art and Design at Altrincham Grammar School for Boys in Cheshire until 2017, and is now a full-time painter. Throughout my career, of course I have constantly revised my methods; tried to refine my skills and discovered many new ways of doing things. I’ve learned partly through the study of other artists, partly through lots of trial and error, and hugely from teaching students for 37 years.
Most children, when asked the question ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ either haven’t a clue, or say something different each time they are asked. I was one of the lucky ones: I knew what I wanted to be, every time, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have been able to do it. Whilst my themes and subject matter have metamorphosed over the years, my commitment to representation, and to the exploration of human relationships, remains as strong now as it did as an undergraduate in the 1970s.
As I increasingly listen to forties and fifties jazz; as I become fascinated by the culture of the generation that preceded mine; as I visit sites to photograph and draw them, inevitably I become embroiled and may end up painting a few works which are fairly time-specific, such as ‘Morning Debrief’ and ‘If You Ever Change Your Mind’. Then, along come ‘Dream of Me’ and ‘Come Rain, Come Shine’, which could very easily depict today – or even the future. I actually want many of my images to be as timeless as possible, because they are usually inspired by universal themes or feelings which have been recognised by adults of all ages in all time periods.
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