Mike Winnard – Picture this Interview with Assembly House Director

Mike Winnard is originally from Hastings but settled in these parts after completing an Art degree at Leeds College of Art.

MW1“I’ve been here five years now, I decided to stay in Leeds after finishing my course, I just found it a great place to live, great socially, great for music and much cheaper than the South.”

However, after graduating Mike realised him and many other graduates were a little bit cast adrift and without the work space and support the college offered he found it difficult to be creative. So, together with friends Lester Drake and Matt Wheeldon, they began to look around for some sort of Art Space and although he had to travel a bit to find it, Mike eventually found Assembly House near Armley.MW2

“We began with aid from East Street Arts but after a while we just sailed the ship alone. The aim of Assembly House is about art space not only for graduates but for artists in general. We want to provide an affordable work space but we also offer support and advice to young or new artists.”

There are around 30 artists renting space at any given time, around 70% have graduated in the last few years. they put on at least one exhibition per month, inviting artists and curators from all over the country to contribute, and occasionally hosting shows of studio-holder’s work as well.

MW3Mike himself recently quit his part time job and is now a full time artist.

“It’s a strange situation, we all need to work to get the money to both live and improve Assembly House but the more we work elsewhere the less we can do here.”

Mike’s preference is principally drawing and painting. He is available for commissions, MW4illustrations, murals, (he recently completed one at Boss Burgers in Chapel Allerton) and event art. We met him at the recent Garden Party Festival at the old Tetley’s Brewery.

“Event art is where we just show up and paint really! I think there were eight of us from Assembly House scattered about the Garden Party. I’m a big fan of Fatima and the Eglo Band so I painted Fatima as she was playing there. Sadly, she didn’t get to see it but there’s always next time!”









44 Canal Rd, Leeds LS12 2PL




Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *