“When I first met Anthony Marn he was painting cityscapes of Manchester and landscapes of Saddleworth, his dark rainy streets were atmospheric and his green rolling hills charming.
It was evident that Anthony had a natural talent for painting, his use of light and colour was wonderful, yet I felt there was something missing.
The paintings were technically accomplished but they felt like pastiches of other artists’ work, I told Anthony that I couldn’t see ‘him’ in any of his paintings.
He remarked that he’d always found it too painful to paint what he truly felt, and talked at length of his parents’ suicide and how as a young man he’d struggled to come to terms with the trauma. We discussed how artists who are in touch with their emotions often produce superior work, and how you grow as an artist the moment you no longer care what people think.
That afternoon Anthony went home and painted ‘The Boy Behind the Door’, a heartbreaking self-portrait of himself as a teenager. Within weeks he’d painted a deeply moving collection of images of himself, his brother, his parents and life growing up in 1970s Manchester.
His exhibition at the Weavers Factory is the very first step towards creative enlightenment for Anthony, a crucial turning point where he begins to paint what is truly inside his heart. And for anyone viewing his work, whether they’ve experienced the heartbreaking tragedy of suicide or not, they cannot fail to be moved by Anthony’s paintings. We’ve all been affected by the loss of someone we love, and the aching space that is left behind.
Julian Bovis, Curator.