Oneill Meredith

painter / sculpture

Early Life ​ I was born in a family of 12 in a pre-fab building in Upper Boat, near Treforest. The year was 1954. My first memories are of playing in the trees near my house. I always had a feeling of being separate. I wasn’t good at school and didn’t cooperate very well, but I always loved art. I was born loving it. Teachers at my school recognised my artistic talent and suggested a future in Art College or University. But the words of my mother “All Merediths in this family, work!” rang in my ears. I continued to sculpt and paint as I became a working man with a family to support. When I was made redundant I did voluntary work for a stage set rental company, I was asked to paint the Mona Lisa and some Gainsborough’s for props for a theatre production. The only criticism from my boss was that they didn’t need to be as detailed as I had painted them! ​ ​ Artistic Developer ​ However, there were great, big gaps in my artistic work where I lost my ability to produce art, though I still felt the need to create. It was as if someone had flicked a switch and turned my ability off. I worked on one painting for 6 years, I just couldn’t see any depth, everything was flat. Driving my car about 6 years ago, I suddenly noticed I could see depth, which I had never realised before. I went straight back home and finished the paintings I had been working on for years. Something had switched me off and switched me back on again! Following my disability where I couldn’t do my day job any more I did a lot of paintings to turn into posters to sell, hoping to make a living out of that. It didn’t work! I exhibited paintings and sculptures in various galleries, Off the Wall and Inkspot being two. I was really excited when I had art to exhibit. I contacted organisations but felt that they couldn’t understand where I was coming from. The Arts Advisor at RCT Council suggested I visit The Factory in Porth, so I did. ​ Now at the Factory ​ There, I met Elise and Ann. I was offered me a studio and there was no stopping me! I finally had direction. I painted and made sculptures which culminated in a bust of Dylan Thomas. Even my family didn’t know of my abilities. My wife never took much notice of what I was doing until she visited my studio and saw Dylan. That’s when I really became confident in my work! If I was going to really accomplish anything, I felt I needed a bronze case of Dylan, so I borrowed money and sold paintings, as it was final throw of the dice. It was done! My bronze bust of Dylan Thomas was showcased at The Factory’s Dylan Thomas anniversary event and appeared on BBC News with me as I was interviewed about The Tate’s involvement with Valleys Kids. Dylan is being exhibited in the Dylan Thomas Little Theatre in Swansea. I am currently working on Amy Winehouse and a number of other projects such as the composers of the Welsh National Anthem.

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