At the age of 5 I went to a religious school in Brussels, where the teachers didn’t speak English. I couldn’t speak French either and I became involved in visual language as a way to communicate. That was the beginning. I was fortunate at later schools to have teachers who spoke languages I understood and who recognised and nurtured my creative talent and passion!
Since then art has been a constant in my life. I started with painting at college and then studied sculpture and digital media. In between I did building & decorating work, signwriting, graphic design and set design among other things. These all expanded my creative range and provided a firm foundation later on to produce large-scale public art.
I began working as a professional artist in my mid-twenties. During that time I managed two galleries and since then have shown my work in fifteen solo exhibitions in London and taken part in over twenty five group exhibitions in UK, Italy and Spain. My art is included in private and public collections in Britain, Greece, Germany, Spain and USA.
In 2000 I founded Urban Eye from an intuition that community-led art and design could have a role in transforming neglected urban spaces. Urban Eye has produced over 50 large scale creative projects to date with local and national partners, of which six have won awards. Many of these are permanent installations at central London locations that have been seen by millions.
In 2017 the Grenfell Tower fire devastated the surrounding North Kensington area. Alas my home, studio and Urban Eye’s office and storage are all within 400 metres of that building. Inevitably the effects of the fire impacted my emotional state and I was unable to paint for two years, but the area is now starting to heal and with creative spirit and energy returning so am I.
Today my practice involves producing commissions both in private work and through Urban Eye public art and renewal projects. I also create original paintings and Trio 3-d works for sale on an ongoing basis and am currently in the process of planning exhibitions for 2021.
My paintings are in oil and are abstract with figurative highlights and counterpoints. Their themes are universal, inspired by the human condition, energy, life, spirit and landscape. They are lyrical and raw using the ingredients of colour, texture and line to expressive effect.
The innovative Trio 3-d pieces can be either abstract or figurative. They tell a story through the parallels and contrasts within each work and the viewer is obliged to retain different images in their mind’s eye, since the works are not entirely visible from any single viewpoint.
These creative formats and my public art have interwoven for many years and continue to do so; my personal art creating solutions for Urban Eye’s public art projects and these in turn often adding focus and energy to my own work.
Miles Watson 2020
• 15 one-man exhibitions in London galleries
• 20 group exhibitions in UK, Italy and Spain
• Artwork represented in private or museum collections in UK, Greece, Germany, Spain and USA
• Corporate purchases include:
McDonalds UK – Commission for London Head Office.
Carphone Warehouse, with works selected by CEO Charles Dunston.
Urban Eye is a public art and regeneration charity, using art and design to renew run-down inner city and working with local authorities, residents and other key stakeholders to develop, fund and implement projects.
Miles is author of seven large scale artworks in London with Urban Eye, including the high-profile Portobello Rail Bridge completed in 2005, and is principal artist/designer of an additional 23 projects based on workshops with partner organisations (including youth projects, community groups and schools).
Miles’ role includes assessing target sites, establishing partnerships with local authorities and owner-agencies, meeting technical and engineering requirements, provision of visualisation and presentation material, development and scaling of artwork, specification of materials and budget, project supervision and installation.
• Curator of contemporary art galleries: X-O Gallery, Draycott Avenue (1990-1993)
• Cuts Gallery, Kensington Church Street (1983-1986) (including first shows by designer Tom Dixon and Flowers East artist Tim Lewis)
• Art Director for Zumba Latin American Arts Festival (1992-1993)
• Consultant for City Challenge Regeneration Scheme (1997-1998)
• Consultant for Golborne United SRB Regeneration Forum (2000-2002)
• Member of Steering Group for RBK&C Neighbourhood Renewal (2003-2004)
• Hesketh Hubbard Drawing Competition 2017 ~ 1st Prize
• RBK&C Environment Award Scheme (2001-2005) for public art/regeneration projects with Urban Eye; 6 Awards (2001, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06); 2 Commendations (2001, 03)
• Bursary from Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths for bronze casting (1988)
• Special Photography Award from Atlantida Travel Group (1984)