Painting ‘People’ at a Ripon restaurant

Artist Amy Carr with some of her paintings at Lockwoods restaurant in Ripon.
Artist Amy Carr with some of her paintings at Lockwoods restaurant in Ripon.

Artist Amy Carr stands by her canvas, analysing diners’ every move and expression as inspiration for her debut exhibition at a Ripon restuarant.

Amy is not just an employee at Lockwoods restaurant on North Street – the Newcastle University fine art graduate has become their resident artist.

And her exhibition, ‘People’, is testament to the 26-year-old’s deep fascination with everyone who surrounds her, especially when on her shifts at the restaurant.

“I didn’t want people to think I was being too intrusive, so I would often take inspiration from diners, studying their expressions, and then develop a painting afterwards,” said Amy, who is originally from Masham and worked abroad after leaving university.

As well as paintings, Amy’s exhibition combines photography to create a diverse and unexpected collection.

Although Amy said her “first passion is art”, she does not take much inspiration from well-known painters and photographers.

“I don’t really like to see my work in terms of famous artists,” she told the Gazette.

Amy prefers local artists, such as Ripon’s David Stead, who runs an art gallery on Kirkgate.

“David really helped me out a lot when I was studying my degree, and gave me lots of tips and advice on the technical side of things,” she said.

“But fine art is a very subjective degree. I think you have to stick to your guns.”

And the exhibition could not be more aptly named for Amy, who said working at an old people’s home at university sparked a range of ideas for painting expressive faces.

“The face says a lot about a person,” she told the Gazette.

“I especially like painting elderly people. There is so much expression and wisdom in an older person’s face.”

While Amy has been able to stage her first full exhibition outside of university, the restaurant is also enjoying the benefits ‘People’ has had to its custom.

Owner Matthew Lockwood told the Gazette: “It’s absolutely brilliant and people have said the exhibition really fits in with the atmosphere of the place.”