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Contemporary artsderbyshire visual artists

To accompany our article on the Heritage of Visual Art in the county, we've written this round-up of artists we particularly thought we'd like to showcase.

Mermaids poolFeatured Visual Artist: Ingrid Karlsson-Kemp

This month, we feature Ingrid Karlsson-Kemp.  Ingrid is an established visual artist who lives and works, and draws inspiration from her home in the Peak District. As inspiration she combines her Swedish roots, storytelling and the beautiful scenery within which she lives. Working in mixed media, she creates magical imagery and also runs workshops to help inspire and bring her skills to others.

Read our special feature on Ingrid's work and find out more about her

Other visual artists in the County

Gareth Buxton moor moon seaGareth Buxton came into the art world relatively late in life. Born in Derby in 1967, it wasn't until 2004 when he was involved in a near-fatal car crash that he starting making the transformation into a serious artist. He began exhibiting his work properly in 2006, and has been regularly showing his work nationwide ever since, as well as exhibiting extensively in the local area. Although he is primarily known for his stormy landscapes that are frequently inspired by Derbyshire scenery, he also paints abstracts and creates unusual sculptures from found items, electronic and pseudo-biological, which are then embedded into the canvasses and boxes that he uses.  Buxton describes his landscapes in his own words:

"My view of the local Derbyshire landscape is often stormy, rainy and indistinct; people, buildings and other details rarely feature in my work, as I prefer to allow the voices of hills, sea, rain and light to speak for themselves." 

As well as being an artist much in demand, he somehow finds the time to update his website,, and his blog: He also tweets, and you can follow him at

David Turner

GlobeThe pieces created by  David Turner are highly unusual, fashioned out of iron, mild steel, stainless steel and bronze. Working as a blacksmith artist, Turner is inspired by organic forms and this is very clear in the natural shapes he produces. He trained on the leading full-time blacksmith course in whole of Europe, Hereford College, before going on to work on hugely diverse projects, from a giant titanium wind sculpture to working on the restoration of Windsor Castle. On his artsderbyshire minisite, which you can visit here, he explains the process of creating his works:

"Each piece is heated to almost melting, battered, hammered, twisted, bent and wrought until it settles into it's final resting place, whether that is in the form of a four meter tall garden sculpture or a six inch wall hanging. The materials are at the same time solid and permanent yet flexible and yielding."

His work is designed especially for each customer to fit exactly the place in which the piece is to occupy. His work inhabits both the home and the garden, and can be functional or simply decorative. The pieces range from colossal to tiny, and any size in between. He makes candlesticks, bowls, banisters, railings, bedsteads and a whole range of other items. To view slideshows of this work in their chosen places, visit David Turner's website at

Emma Tooth 

Although she originally came from Cambridge,  Emma Tooth now lives in Belper, and works as a highly successful oil paint portrait artist with great critical acclaim. Her subjects are often the ordinary people of Britain, but her works employ chiaroscuro, the use of contrasting light and dark in paintings made famous by Caravaggio, which make the common people depicted appear heavenly. The subjects are also captured in traditional religious poses, further echoing Caravaggio's work, which was similarly created using ordinary people as models.

Tooth exhibits nationally and abroad, showing her work in such varied places as The Royal Society of Portrait Painters and the International Tattoo Convention, which takes place in Derby. She has worked on some very high-profile projects such as Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares and Mam Tor's Event Horizon, an award-winning graphic novel anthology. She sells her existing works, takes on commissions, and teaches adult art classes at Murray Park School.     
You can visit her website at to see her paintings, download free desktop wallpapers of her work and read critical praise of her work, as well as watch the new documentary capturing Emma Tooth's Concilium Plebis project.

Victoria Brown 

Victoria Brown creates stunning paintings from gold leaf, acrylic and sequins. One of her series of paintings is called 'Hanami', the name for a Japanese cherry blossom viewing party, and it is easy to see why, looking at her work; blossoms feature in a big way along with beautiful gold painted mosaic backgrounds. And yet her inspiration for these Japanese style works is much closer to home, taken from the blossoms and plants around Derbyshire. On her website, which you can visit here, she says of her own work:

It’s so uplifting to be surrounded by blossoms in the spring, I just had to respond to them. I spent time walking around the village taking photos and sketches of the blossom. Standing under the trees, looking up at the overlapping of petals and leaves, the bright sunlight shining through, it’s amazing. I love the way it floats off the trees in a breeze, gathers on the floor like snow and floats in puddles after the rain. I was delighted to discover that the Japanese celebrate the arrival of blossom with cherry blossom viewing parties and festivals, I too could stand under a tree and watch it all day.”

Brown is also influenced by her upbringing, in which she was surrounded by lace. Her family has been involved in lace manufacturing since the nineteenth century and this attention to the details of nature can be seen in her works.

Another project of she works on is Love Heart Publishing, which publishes handbound limited edition storybooks for children written by Victoria Yates, which Brown illustrates. Visit Brown's website at for more information on her collections and exhibitions.

Who else have we got?

Emma Parkins, who works under the name  Junky Monkey, creates art using recycled and natural materials. Having worked as an artist and illustrator since 1997, Parkins has sold her designs worldwide and taught in adult education. Five years ago she became a community artist and runs ethical arts workshops that encourage people to think about the environment, working in schools and the community. Visit her website at .

As an architecture student,  Nicky Ward is heavily influenced by the urban environment, and her art reflects buildings and the artist's emotional response to them. She uses discarded materials and embroidered fabric in her work, as well as strong colours, plenty of texture and composite image techniques to build up a complex collage. She currently runs workshops in schools to engage young people in architecture. Visit her website at .

Sandy Hillyer paints the changing moods of nature, using acrylic on canvas to create atmospheric semi-abstracts inspired by the landscape. She has exhibited widely across the UK, including London and Birmingham. Visit her website at .

Laura Ellen Bacon's work is very site specific, focusing on sculpture in landscapes, cityscapes and interiors, following a theme of nesting. Bacon weaves her materials around existing structures, and her work can often be seen in public places. Check out her website at to see examples of her intriguing work.

Ghislaine Howard was named "Woman of the Year" for her contribution to art and society, and has received favourable critical attention for over two decades. Famous for her groundbreaking exhibition of pregnancy and birth themed paintings, created while she was artist in residence at St. Mary's Hospital Maternity Unit in Manchester. She now runs the Ghislaine Howard Studio Gallery in Glossop, where she exhibits her work and runs art courses and special events. You can find out more about her on her website

Source materials for this article

Featured artists

Angela Thompson

Angela Thompson

Paula Sharples

Paula Sharples

Richard Bett

Richard Bett


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