Stephen Whalley Contemporary Artist
My life has always had me immersed in art in some way, shape or form. I remember winning my first national art competition at the age of 5 back in 1982 and since then its been my life's passion.
I never really painted a lot at all in my young years as I was mostly into designing and inventing things, but I knew the whole way through my teenage years I wanted to be a designer/ artist.
I'm proud to say I went to school at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution in Belfast and still have strong ties with the school even after leaving over 25 years ago! My education finally lead me to the University of Ulster in York Street were I completed a Foundation in Art and Design followed by a Bachelor of Arts in Design.
My painting never really evolved until I left college and after a number of years working in the building trade I opened my very own gallery business in a small unit in the centre of Holywood, County Down.
My wife was also my partner in business and we spent 8 years in the premises in Holywood High Street were we learnt how to paint in a commercial type market. After a number of solo and group shows my work took lots of different paths, but it always seemed to come back to my passion for painting landscapes.
I loved travelling and experiencing my very own coastal and countryside areas of Northern Ireland. The colours and mood of the skies were endless inspiration for me and loved being able to effortlessly paint from memory onto canvas.
A homeland depicted in silk
As a contemporary Belfast artist I wanted to create a new exquisite silk pocket square and jacket lining range to feature some of the most scenic and recognizable places in Northern Ireland.
The inspiration to have my own collection of luxury silk customised pieces for men happened when I was having a jacket, with the unusual lining, tailored for myself. I felt the jacket and bespoke lining, as well as being incredibly smart, would appeal to stylish men here with a special affection for certain parts of the province.
I have always been interested in handmade goods since my grandfather introduced me to Belfast shoemaker the late Pat McKearnan. He supplied me with a pair of custom-made shoes every year until he passed away.
It was this lifelong interest in customisation which made me yearn for my own unique product which married my love of art with fashion.