Jack Hellewell

Bradford born abstract artist, Jack Hellewell studied at the Bradford College of Art in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

Born in Bradford in 1920, Jack was a celebrated abstract artist, working primarily in acrylic.

Traveling to Egypt, North Africa and Italy as a young man in the RAF, Jack gained experiences and mental images of people, architecture, colour and shape he was to remember all his life. A round the world tour, passing through Australia, with his young family in the 1960’s added to his catalogue of mental images and introduced new, diverse materials to work with.

During the late 1940s and early 1950s, Jack trained at Bradford College of Art and afterwards worked as a graphic designer until the death of his wife, Dora, in 1976. He then left his job to become a full time painter and semi-recluse. Jack painted all day, every day from Monday to Saturday. Sunday was his ‘housekeeping day’ when he taught himself to cook, clean, wash, iron and sew.

Whilst painting, he was able to draw upon the wealth of images and experience he had gained through his travels, recalling, “I like to freely adapt the thousands of images I store in my mind. Over the years they become distilled; so only the essence of the view is remembered. Because of this my paintings are simplified and abstracted, but hopefully I retain the spirit.”

A modest artist, Jack never thought anyone could possibly be interested in him. He was, however, always delighted when people expressed an interest in his paintings, and would happily discuss his work at his studio in Ilkley, handing round tea and ginger biscuits. Cats and dogs were especially welcome as he thought they had more sense than people.

Jack also prolifically painted his local Ilkley landscape in a colourful and very atmospheric hand. He died in 2000.