The multimedia artist, Mandy Farrar, was born in Bradford. She gained an honours degree in Peace Studies from Bradford University, 1980-1983, and subsequently worked in a range community, outreach and support roles. She wrote:
I have no formal art training, choosing instead to go to Bradford University’s School of Peace Studies, where I gained my degree. Combining creativity with politics, using the mediums of photography, writing, art, radio and events promotion, I have preferred to work in environments, often with the marginalized – Travelling People, Refugees, the homeless, the blind, the deaf, and those with low self esteem and broken confidence.
She worked as an aid worker in Kosova and photographs she took there were exhibited internationally. Mandy also owned and ran The Bodhran Bookshop in Saltaire for 13 years and has written articles, interviews and reviews for magazines and newspapers, and contributed to book publication, from content to design, including photography.
Painting had always been an important feature of her life, but increasingly assumed greater importance for her. She wrote:
My life had been in turmoil and I started to paint again … In painting, all my senses come to life, and I paint with that child-like awe and enthusiasm, which I believe is at the very core of our creative self, and is in each and every one of us. The Masters knew it:-Picasso, Klee, Turner, Cezanne, Miro and, for me, the Mexican artist, Rufino Tamayo. They all knew it – and practiced it!
In 2002 she met, worked and travelled with the artist, Allan Brack, with time, from 2005 onward, spent in America, Cornwall, and North Wales. Mandy uses a range of art media, including photography, and her paintings encompass a wide range of both figurative and abstract subjects – her work has often been inspired by the lyrics of songwriter, singer and poet, Leonard Cohen.
Mandy’s artwork has also been exhibited at joint and solo exhibitions in Bradford and featured at the Dean Clough Contemporary Art Gallery in Halifax. In Cornwall, Mandy and Allan Brack’s work was shown at Falmouth Arts Centre, and they both sold prints, paintings and cards at venues around Falmouth. Her artwork is also in individual and organisation collections.
In November and December, 2018, Mandy and Allan Brack presented a joint exhibition and celebration of their work: ‘Came So Far for Beauty’ (inspired by a Leonard Cohen lyric) at the South Square Gallery, Thornton. They had both been actively involved with the formation of South Square as an arts centre and had previously and jointly shown work there in 2002.
Artist Contact: The Undertow.