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A Yorkshire artist tells Jo Haywood how moving back to the North has led to a marked change of direction
Tim Bulmer loves Yorkshire, but its a relationship built on digs and jibes, not heart and flowers. Rather like a big brother who shows his affection with a Chinese burn, this Yorkshire artist expresses his feelings for the county with gently mocking cartoons.
Tim, who was recently commissioned to create a new town map of Pickering, first discovered the soothing effects of art when he was sent away to school at Bramcote in Scarborough in the Sixties, followed by five years at what was then the tough, no-nonsense, rugby-orientated Sedbergh School in the old West Riding.
Art college in Wimbledon was a joy after having spent most of my school career at the bottom of a loose ruck, he said. And my determination to make it in the art world never wavered from that point on.
His first proper job, after a temporary period tinkering about backstage in the theatre, was as a picture-framer-cum-gallery-sales assistant at Forest Galleries in Guildford. He proved to be a nifty framer but a poor salesman except when it came to his own work.
This was soon noticed by DeMontford Fine Art, one of the most prominent fine art distribution companies, which began marketing his watercolours and etchings to an ever-increasing band of admirers, both at home and abroad.
Everything was going well, but after 14 years I decided I needed to try something different, said Tim. With that in mind, I moved back north to Pickering and diversified.
That diversification initially included designing wine labels for Fitou (still very much in evidence on supermarket shelves) and promotional prints for Taylors Port, but has since expanded into a stream of both personal and commercial commissions for restaurants, hotels and gastro pubs such as The Star at Harome and the Pipe & Glass in South Dalton, whilst illustrating books for his own publishing company Bog Books and for authors like Roger Steare and Ray Mears.
Among his most popular books to date is Yorkshire Pudding n All That Tripe, an irreverent, though undoubtedly adoring, look at the county, its people and their traditions.
As well as showing us at work, rest and play, it also translates some of our Yorkshire-isms that might elude visitors from outside the county. Such as: Owdo, a favourite, non-gender specific form of greeting that can mean hello, good morning or good afternoon and can be used towards anyone, even the Queen if she happens to be in Barnsley doing her weekly shop.
And: Flippineck, an exclamation of surprise or disappointment, usually uttered by supporters of the losing team at rugby, cricket and football (not that any of our teams ever lose especially if they are playing against anyone from over the border in Lancashire).
If youve been looking for a book about Yorkshire that will inspire you to walk a different path from the one usually trodden by visitors, said Tim, or some trivia to bore people with at your next dinner party, or just a good laugh then this is the book youve been looking for.
He works with his wife Sarah, who he describes as long-suffering, and Gary and Cheryl-Ann from Design Farm Studio in Levisham.
The three of them have to combine their efforts to keep me in line, said Tim. They make sure there are plenty of new projects in development to keep me incarcerated in this studio for the foreseeable future.
The print version of this article appeared in the August 2011 issue of Yorkshire Life
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