Angus Gardner

Angus Gardner is a British contemporary artist based in the North East of England. Born in Newcastle to a Scottish-Irish father and a Sicilian-Maltese mother, he inherited his father’s dry wit and his mother’s Mediterranean passion, both of which are evident in his art. 

He has painted, drawn and sculpted one way or another all of his life – perhaps one of his earliest memories was as an eight year old surprising his parents by over the course of a weekend, deciding to cover the walls of his bedroom with life-sized paintings of Marvel’s Avengers. (to a very mixed parental reception). One wall of his bedroom was left blank but only because it was filled with a full-sized aviary full of Zebra Finches, a testament to his other life-long passion, animals. 

After graduating in 1990 in Graphic and Audio Visual Design, his career began in New York City as an art teacher and then as a Graphic Designer for an investment bank on Maddison Avenue.

Homesick, in 1992 he returned to the North East of England initially working as an Animator and Video Director in the UK, Europe and the Far East for a regional production company, moving into Advertising and for the last 20 years (and currently) as a Graphic Artist, Illustrator and Designer for large corporate clients including Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Fenwick’s, Fortnum & Masons and The Secret Garden. The chances are you’ve probably encountered some of Angus’s illustrations and designs on everything from Harvey Nichols gift packaging to Fortnum & Masons X branded luxury products and never knew it was his.

Angus lives on a working 600 acre farm bordering the North Yorkshire Moors and shares his home with his wife, step daughter, horses, hens, cats and his beloved German Shepherd, Obi. He is surrounded by the inspiration for his art – wildlife, and is passionate about painting it in the very unique way that he sees it. The subjects in his debut series are all animals he’s encountered whilst walking with Obi. His wife Pea affectionately calls him ‘Bird Nerd’ and ‘Nature Boy’ as they can seldom be out of the house together without Angus excitedly pointing out a creature or extending walks so they can check in on one of the many barn owls that roost around the farm.

Angus paints in acrylic and likes to work humour into his art, whether that’s magnifying a quirk or characteristic of the creature he’s painting, creating personalities from the wildlife people see every day to perhaps make people think of them in a different way by adding social commentary or working a related life memory into a composition or setting.

“Ideas come to me usually whilst I’m roaming the 600 acre farm with Obi, more often than not inspired by sightings. The dancing male pheasants during mating season, the early morning boxing hares, dive bombing swallows, the Queen Bees buzzing around the outbuildings looking for a place to create their colonies in Spring, the Robin that bosses my garden year-round. Once I have an idea firmly established in my head, I start to learn more about the animal – what makes it unique, what its super-power is and then I move on to anatomy. Often my art requires animals to be posed in a way that they wouldn’t necessarily adopt in the wild, so gaining an acute understanding of how the joints work, how everything is connected, how the light plays on feathers, fur or skin, is critical before I start preliminary sketches to get the pose right. Once I commit to canvass, I always start with the eyes and face. It’s only once I’ve put life into their eyes that their personality starts to come through and I can believe in the animal and then I feel an enormous sense of duty to bring out the animal’s natural beauty – it’s like  it’s watching me through the whole process.”