ARTIST Enrique Azocar has travelled the world painting sublime landscapes, but insists his favourite source of inspiration is Tynedale’s own scenery.

“I’ve travelled with a paintbrush and a pallet to every continent but Africa,” he said. “My latest project has taken me to both Argentina, and my homeland of Chile, where I have been painting the Patagonian glaciers, as part of my project on hidden and untouched landscapes.”

Enrique’s work aims to capture more than simply beautiful landscapes however, and has a deeper environmental message running through.

“To me, art is born as a response to the world around us, so there’s often a political touch to it,” he said. “I was concerned with how humans are destroying the planet, to the point where there will be nothing of nature left untouched by man, including glaciers, at the rate we are going.

“I wanted to capture their beauty while they still remain untouched.”

Tynedale has also been a muse for Enrique, who lives in Hexham, and he has spent many hours searching its countryside for inspiration.

His latest 135 x 173cm landscape painting called Features of Northumberland has been Enrique’s latest labour of love, and is inspired by the views of the valley he admires on his frequent bike rides.

“I never run out of inspiration in Northumberland, because there are so many hidden gems to explore, and so much scenic variety – with its rolling hills, traditional villages and seascapes – it’s the perfect setting for an artist.”

Enrique is versatile in his skills, producing a range of works including still lives, portraits and impressionism, but he said that scenic landscapes have always been some of his favourite to exhibit.

“It’s fascinating how the public respond to the landscapes in different ways.”Enrique said. “Each individual viewer defines the landscape based on what it emotes to them, for example, whilst some people might find paintings of the night sky calming, others might find it slightly unnerving.”

Enrique’s work currently hangs in galleries all around the world, including London, Russia, Canada, and his homeland of Chile.

His current international project is with the Guggenheim Museum in New York, where he is researching and experimenting with different shades of black, particularly ‘ivory black’, the deepest shade, which Enrique describes as “the black of nothingness, and death.”

Despite his worldwide success, Enrique’s latest dream is much closer to home, as he hopes to not only exhibit more of his paintings in the North-East, but make the region one of the best places in the country for artists to showcase their work.

His ambition led him to start The Wall North Contemporary, a transit art gallery and workshop space devoted to exhibiting high-end work from both international and local artists, as well holding regular seminars. It’s current headquarters are at the Art Studio in Hexham.

One of Enrique’s future plans for The Wall North Contemporary is to start up a cultural exchange with a gallery near Dusseldorf in Germany, which he visited last year with fellow local artist Claudia Sacher. He hopes the German artists will return the visit to Northumberland in the near future, where they can view the work of Tynedale’s artists in the flesh.

“The project came to being because I felt that although Tynedale is gifted with plenty of talented artists, there is a lack of space for independent artists to exhibit their work,” he said.

“I have experienced first-hand how difficult it can be for non-commercial artists to exhibit their work in the region, so I decided to create a solution, and along with several other local artists. We are self-funding the project, and empty our pockets every week to pay for art supplies and space.”

The local artists collaborating with Enrique on starting the project include Claudia Sacher, Gill Germain, Gilbert Ward, Rachel Sharp and Karen Melvin.

The Wall North Contemporary will also work alongside the district’s Visual Art in Rural Communities (VARC), a creative charity set up by Cynthia Morrison-Bell, which aims to encourage artists to develop new work in response to the remote rural landscape and its community.

Tynedale is also home to Enrique’s art classes, which he holds regularly at the Art Studio, mentoring beginner artists in a range of styles including painting, drawing and sculpting.

“My main objective when teaching is to help educate my student’s artistic eye, so that they will not simply produce one, or a couple good paintings, but rather learn the skills they need to produce many.”

Every year Enrique holds an alumni exhibition, where all of his students have the opportunity to showcase their work to the public.

“The exhibition is what many of the students have been working towards,” he said. “Displaying your work, and opening it up to public opinion, and sometimes criticism, is incredibly revealing to a artist, and a essential part of learning.”

Enrique’s reputation as a mentor attracts budding artists from all across the county. Some of his current students include: Charlotte Buchanan, David Bowater, Margaret Bradshaw, Gerry Bradley, Joan Macbeth, Bob Taylor, Adrian Morley, Derek Gunby and Helen Stephenson, many of whom have attended Enrique’s classes for years.

“I tend to teach classes in small numbers, so that I have the time to give one-to-one tutorials with my students,” said Enrique. “It’s a very intimate, calm environment, with relaxing music and hot drinks. I even went so far as to seal the windows, and add blinds, so that the studio felt like it was a artistic bubble away from the craziness of the outside world.”

He may be a art teacher by profession, but Enrique believes he is never too old to learn something new, and has been a student himself at multiple universities across the world, including Central Saint Martins in London where he studied drawing, and Andrés Baldwin’s Academia in Chile to study fine art classic techniques.

He recently also completed his masters degree in fine art as a mature student at the University of Northumbria, which he described as one of his proudest moments, as he had to complete the course in another language.

Enrique’s work can be viewed at the Art Studio in Beaufront Park, open 11am-3pm.

For details of his art classes visit