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Neil Shawcross  (b. 1940)

Nationality:BritishApproach:post-impressionist, it can also be noted as to influences more recently, after the contemporary painter Howard Hodgkin.
Currently Lecturer in the certificate in foundation studies at the School of Art and Design, University of Ulster at Belfast.
1962-64: Part-time Lecture College of Art Belfast
1965-68: Part-Time Lecture College of Art Belfast
1968-72: Full time Lecture College of Art Belfast
1972-84: Full-Time Lecture Ulster Polytechnic

1940: Born in Kearsly in Lancashire. The family environment was conducive to personal expression and from an early age Neil was attracted to both the pleasures and discipline of drawing.
1960: Part-time lecturer at Lancaster College of Art
1962: Appointed part-time lecturer at the then City of Belfast College of Art. Neil was in at the start of the new style of course delivery that soon developed into programmes of more experimental art and design ranging from the college's own Diploma (now degree courses) to the setting up of the Pre-Diploma (now Foundation) course.

In his first year in Ulster, Neil also was one half of a two-person show at the old Arts Council Gallery and had a one-person show at Queen's (University Belfast). A significant honour and a signpost to future practice occurred in 1966 when he won first prize in the Gallaghers Portrait Competition.

This short biographical sketch does not begin to list all the major exhibitions, commissions and prizes that Neil Shawcross has had in the forty years since he came to this Province.

He continues to love the way that serendipity can play a role in the final outcome of a work of art but he has never lost the belief that chance should only play its part after the discipline of planning has shaped the structure, the composition of the piece. "I'm still conscious of, in fact I'd say I'm in awe of the rectangle," he said recently. So the speed with which he works and those legendary one-sitting only portraits plus his open love of popular and pulp imagery might wrongly disguise the fact that the themes he tackles (until, as he points out, the theme exhausts itself) come from a reservoir of constantly refreshed experiences built upon the disciplines he learned all those years ago in Lancashire.

Biographical selections reproduced courtesy Mike Catto, from catalogue essay, Neil Shawcross, for the exhibition, New Paintings, Tom Caldwell Gallery, Belfast, March 2002.


1958-61: Studied at Lancaster College of Art (NND Painting Special Level)
1953-58: Studied at Bolton College of Art (Intermediate Certificate)


2001: RUA Gold Medal Winner
1998: James Adam Prize, R.U.A.
1997: RUA Gold Medal Winner
1997: Belfast Arts Club Small Works, Prize Winner
1994: RUA Gold Medal Winner
1993: Monaghan Open Exhibition, Joint 1st Prize Winner
1991: Wellington Park Hotel Prize, R.U.A. Exhibition Belfast
1990: Arnotts National Portrait Award, Dublin
1987: RUA Gold Medal Winner
1982: RUA Gold Medal Winner
1978: Royal Ulster Academician
1979: Travel Scholarship Arts Council of Northern Ireland
1978: RUA Gold Medal Winner
1975: RUA Conor Award
1966: Gallaher Portrait Prize

Other Activities

Young Arts Scheme, Arts Council of N. Ireland.
Annaghmakering Advisory Board ( Tyrone Guthrie Arts Centre)
Arts Committee Newtownabbey Borough Council

1993: Visiting Assistant Professor, Penn State University State College USA
1991: Residency , Vermont Studio Centre, USA
1987: Residency, Virginia Centre for the Creative Arts USA

Works by Neil Shawcross 

Neil Shawcross 1993

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