About the Artist
Mick Manning is an artist and book illustrator based in the Scottish borders. He graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1987 and later devised and ran the Illustration course at Glasgow School of Art (1990 -98) before devoting himself full time to his books and art work. His alumni include Mark Hearld and Gerry Turley.
Mick and his partner, the painter Brita Granström, divide their time between the Borders and her native Sweden which inspires many of his works (Black Dog Red Dog, for example, shown in our inaugural exhibition ‘Maps of the Imagination’). The Junor Gallery presented three of his works in ‘Maps of the Imagination’ as well as a selection of unframed works. Some of his works are still available from the gallery, for a limited time period. All are pochoir stencil-paintings individually made by the artist’s hand using brushed stipple application and hand-cut stencils. They are often referred to as ‘prints’ due to the fact the image can be repeated if the fragile stencils allow – but each image is unique and has never seen a press.
In RED DOG BLACK DOG, the stencil is used in graphic, opposing orientations on a map of the Swedish coast. The stipple technique creates a variation in texture, which appears as fur-like in places on the dogs. With hind legs completely outstretched, the dogs seem to be bounding for their lives with feral strength. Arrows in similarly opposing directions fly in close pursuit and it seems their hunters, unseen, lie in both directions. It’s a powerful image, full of energy and mystery.
The GOLDEN EAGLE stands proud on a map of the Grampian mountains. With the pochoir technique allowing varying amounts of paint to be applied to the map, a graded effect results and land and loch are faintly visible beneath the eagle’s heart. Beautiful shading around the eye is another result of the artist’s masterful pochoir technique. Through the vast contrast in scale, even Ben Nevis appears within easy grasp of its great talons. Its golden neck plumage reflects the map’s shades exactly – he is completely at one with the mountain landscape.
The pochoir technique comes into its own again with a RED-THROATED DIVER stencil printed onto a St Andrews Sea Chart. This summer diver has made a leaping dive to feed on a shoal of fish stencilled in a beautiful tonal range of blues. The composition is absolutely delightful here. Webbed feet upturned, the viewer’s eye dives down with the bird to its distinctive beak, open in anticipation of a good feed. We can see which of the small fish is about to become dinner. The red-throated diver has now migrated to different waters, into the home of a lucky collector.
Mick Manning photographs: Diana Pappas