Talking to Helen Welford about John Carter

My name is Zoya Din and I have been doing my Year 10 Work Experience at Tees Valley Arts. For one of my tasks, I researched artist John Carter, who is part of the TVA Art Collection held by mima. I emailed Helen Welford, Collections Officer at mima, who had been one of John Carter’s first students and arranged to meet to have a chat about him.

We met at mima and Helen told me that she had met John Carter when she was in Year 4 during a school trip. She said that he made her feel like a real artist as she was drawing the landscape and not drawing simple photos of her parents, like a child. It was a very early experience for Helen he showed her that you do not have to have perfect drawings as an artist and she had always loved art but John had pushed her in the right direction.

She had kept up with John’s artwork after school and he had loved drawing landscape sketches and using heavy mediums and materials like graphite and charcoal. He was an artist who would encourage someone to look at the landscape whilst painting or drawing, much like William Turner. He was part of a group called the Cleveland Sketching Club and they supported each other and went out to the environment to sketch and draw. The group were very influential and enjoyed looking at John’s work.

For someone who is not familiar with Art, Helen told me to go look at different galleries and public places like the Transporter Bridge to gain a greater understanding. If you enjoy Art or want to pursue it in the future, it would be good if you went out and were engaged in what is happening in the world, to gain perspective. Personally, I believe that interview went well and that I really gained a lot of perspective on what happens with Art and how so many Art pieces can be more than a picture.