83-year-old Jim Giles graduated with an MA in Contemporary Fine Art having produced a varied portfolio of work inspired by events and relationships from his personal life.
Originally from Salford and educated in Urmston, Jim now lives in Ancoats, having retired at the age of 60 after a career as an airbrush and photographic artist. He completed a BA in Fine Arts at Liverpool John Moores University soon after retirement and decided to go back to his studies two-and-a-half years ago to keep himself “alive mentally”.
Said Jim: “I came from a disadvantaged background and university wasn’t an option open to me when I was younger. I was the first member of my family to go to university and working towards my MA was a wonderful experience – very exciting and life affirming.”
Jim’s work incorporates oil painting and mixed media, often combined with craft work, personal artefacts and ‘found’ objects relating to his life story. Recently he knitted two Manchester City and Manchester United football scarves as part of an installation alongside a large painting of a Victorian football team as a homage to his father, who was born in 1897 and was a huge football fan but who died when Jim was in his twenties. He now also has a studio in Islington Mill in Salford.
“Through my work I’ve tried to look back on my life in a spiritual way,” he continued. “I’ve had an unbelievable time on the course. The tutors have been marvellous and being surrounded by so many bright young creative students was incredible.
“I was very nervous before the graduation ceremony but it was lovely to share the experience with my wife, children, granddaughter and extended family who came from London, Brighton and Inverness to be at my graduation.”
MA Contemporary Fine Art Programme Leader, Louise Brookes, said: “Jim has been an exceptionally committed student and has become a firm friend of students and staff alike. His work is of a very high standard and I’m really pleased that he has taken so much from the experience of working towards his MA. He deserves all the praise he’s received.”