Updated: Thursday, 9th April 2020 @ 1:24pm

Artist showcases work at Manchester exhibition after brain tumor led him to 'follow his dreams' as a painter

Artist showcases work at Manchester exhibition after brain tumor led him to 'follow his dreams' as a painter

| By Bisma Hussain

An artist who was influenced to take up painting after suffering from a brain tumour is exhibiting his work in Manchester.

Michael Ashcroft – who won the prestigious Frank Herring Easel Award in 2017 – has launched his This Is Manchester exhibition at Contemporary Six in the city centre.

MM spoke to Michael ahead of the opening, revealing his brave fight with cancer led him to such success in the art industry.

He told us: “I’ve always been interested in art, it’s in my genes. I was never good academically, I was an engineer before becoming an artist.

“I had this brain tumour in 1998 and that is what made me more motivated and focused on becoming a serious painter.

“I’m sure I would have still been an artist even if that hadn’t happened but it’s always in you and when you know it is you just crack on with it and follow your dreams.”

The collection of paintings feature iconic sights of Manchester, including images of trams and the junction near Deansgate Station.

When asked how he believes art resonates with young people in 2018 – especially at the time where social media and technology have such a profound impact – Michael actually praised modern day platforms for inspiring artists and helping them to get their work out.

He said: “A lot of artists are on social media to be able to connect with the new generation and for people to see more artwork.

“Times have changed, in some ways it has made it easier for artist to get their work out there however it can be difficult as there are so many artists with a lot of good content.”

He confessed that he still sees a need for spaces like Contemporary Six, the venue currently showcasing his paintings until Wednesday, November 14.

Michael explained: “It’s very interesting. Art always moves and adapts with the times and people always love it.

“I think, yes you can look at an image online, but to see the art in its flesh… the feeling is surreal – and nothing can compete with that.”

Michael – whose work is inspired by names such as John Constable, JMW Turner, Lucian Freud, Edward Hopper and Walter Sickert – is very happy to praise the art scene in Manchester.

He revealed: “I love Manchester as it has a lot of history and wonderful galleries. However, I do also like London as it in its own way is special.

“But Manchester is retro. I like that urban feel like in Northern Quarter, it’s very real and friendly and the atmosphere is just very nice.”

*Contemporary Six will host ‘This is Manchester’ exhibition from Thursday, November 1 – Wednesday, November 14.