Roy Collinson

Artist of the Month November 2016

Each month we choose one of the fantastic artists represented on our website to be our Artist of the Month.

Our November 2016 Artist of the Month is Roy Collinson. Roy is one of eight artists who the Outside In team represented at the Outsider Art Fair in Paris, 20-23 October 2016. Roy was an artist at Barrington Farm in Norfolk for many years. He passed away in 1999. Staff at Barrington Farm compiled the short biography below.

Roy Collinson 1946 - 1999

Roy Collinson was born on Valentine’s Day, 1946 in Harringay, London. He spent much of his early life at Friern Barnet Psychiatric Hospital in North London, moving to Walcott, North Norfolk in 1981. He died towards the end of 1999.

When the Barrington Farm Art Barn Studio opened in 1987, Collinson found his calling in art as it offered him an outlet for his memories and stories of the past. A prolific artist, he worked strictly from 8am to 5pm every day in his shared studio, and often out of hours in the privacy of his own room. Drawing on his memories and cultivating his imagination, Collinson produced hundreds of works on paper, exploring a variety of themes in great detail, repeating and altering the subject matter with each picture. He would cover his walls, skirting board to ceiling with drawings, all grouped together in common themes. Mostly choosing pencil and crayon over paint or ink, Collinson often worked and re-worked his pictures until the paper tore. Roy would go through periods of being very productive and satisfied with his work, though following these times he would become depressed and destroy his property and large amounts of artwork, ripping it up and putting it in the bin.

A natural colourist, Collinson always maintained a healthy disregard for the art of others - purely for the reason that it was not relevant to his own vision. The absence of any formal art influence enabled him to create in a way that was much more direct and spontaneous than many contemporary artists. His technique and use of colour were uninhibited and he worked freely, tapping into his instincts and impulses to create striking and original images. Collinson had a talent for depicting familiar subjects in unfamiliar ways. He blurred the boundaries between reality and imagination, bringing a fresh, untainted eye to his creations. He was never short of ideas, however dominant themes run through his work: Architectural landscapes, Film and TV characters, Animal-monsters, Trains, Aliens and Native American Indians.

Collinson never spoke of his art as being good or bad, only of his need to continue making. He was aware that his work may be exhibited, and occasionally wrote on his work “For the Norwich exhibition”. He almost always signed his works “ROY” in a block at the top right hand corner, emphasising the letters with bold colourful outlines.

During his life Roy exhibited regularly at the St. Brannocks Gallery, Norfolk including a solo show in July 1997, as well as at other venues in Norfolk. In March 1999 he was invited to show his work at the Garde Rail Gallery, Seattle, USA and since his death his work has been shown in various exhibitions as well as collected by the Museum of Everything in London.

Being selected to show at The Paris Outsider Art Fair with Outside In and as artist of the month has meant that Roy’s work will continue to be seen and appreciated by a wider audience, though Roy believed that viewers could think whatever they liked about his work. As he once said,”It is up to people to make their own minds up”.

Click here for more information about the Outsider Art Fair

Click here to visit Roy's Outside In online gallery