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Worker Bee: meet Helena Worthington, local artist and Gogglebox star

"I am a qualified mime artist and worked in Paris as a street performer for three years..."

As well as being an expert telly watcher, Gogglebox star and Salfordian Helena Worthington is a multidisciplinary artist based at Islington Mill who has a creative practice specialising in sculpture and painting. She has also been facilitating creative school and community projects for the last seven years.

The Manchester-based artist is a graduate of The University of Salford and was awarded The University of Salford Chancellor’s Excellence award in 2018. 

Helena’s work explores ephemeral themes using impasto paint application, sculpting and revealing layers, she creates a documentation of time passing. Often swapping foreground and background, the Artist challenges the viewer’s perceptions and expectations. Helena has an interest in Ancient History and Modern culture and the vessel or amphora makes a regular feature in her works. 

Helena has shown work in a number of exhibitions including The Whitworth Art Gallery and The Manchester Open at Home, and her paintings are held in numerous private collections. She was recently commissioned by Box on The Docks at Media City, a project creating a Public large scale Artwork, and is at present on a Residency; Villages is a project based around Motherhood and Art Practice.  

Helena Worthington will be returning to MediaCity on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th September offering a truly Salfordian creative experience at the upcoming We Invented the Weekend festival by leading three different workshops centred around creating a self-portrait, painting your pet, and finally capturing the local landscape in exactly the style of L.S Lowry. Think thick paints, earthy colour schemes and a whole lot of fun!

What got you started in your field of work?

When I was very little I used to draw on the walls and in my mum’s cook books and then blame it on my brother… so I guess that was the start of things.

Who has been the biggest influence on your work?

My partner Dan, he is an amazing artist and has always supported me wholeheartedly.  

What is your proudest achievement so far?

After a difficult childhood I really had a negative experience of the educational system. I decided to try and go back to university in my late 20s and got a first class honours degree in fine art while also having Erwin, my son, in my last year. I don’t know how I did that and I don’t really remember what was going on, but I did it. 

What does your typical day involve?

It’s a hectic mix of looking after my three year old, constantly picking things up off the floor and then trying to work in the evening when really all I want to do is watch reruns of Antiques Roadshow because I’m tired, and eat crisps. I think this is the same for a lot of stay at home self-employed mums and dads.

And how do you relax on your days off?

We like to go to historical places of interest; castles, manor houses and battle reenactments. I hope to own a full suit of armour one day.

What is the best advice you have been given or can give?

If something isn’t working…don’t do it harder. 

And always go a size bigger than you think when buying knickers.

If things hadn’t worked out, what else could you have seen yourself doing?

I really would like to become a bird of prey handler. I’ve always fancied that would suit me. 

Tell us one thing about yourself people might be surprised to hear…

I am a qualified mime artist and worked in Paris as a street performer for three years. 

My outfit was a striped top, a black beret and I would paint my face white. You know the classic mime look. 

Red or Blue?

Is this like The Matrix film? Red pill or blue pill? I would rather live in the real world like Keanu Reeves wanted to do. My favourite colour is orange. 

Sorry, I’m not too sure on what the question is. 

If you could change one thing about Manchester, what would it be

The roads. I think that more spaces need to be pedestrianised. And I would like Piccadilly gardens to be turned back to how they were when there were flowers and trees. 

And finally, what do you love most about Manchester?

Our socialist history and the continuing attitude that equality and happiness isn’t just for the few, it’s for everyone.

Lowry by the Lowry with local Salford artist and Goggleboxer Helena Worthington

Pier 8 Terrace at The Lowry 

Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th September 

10am – 5pm

Bookable and walk-in sessions available

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