Mark Midgley's fascination with fruit and vegetables originated from the time he spent as a part time student at Ruth Prowse School of Art in Cape Town, South Africa. "Whilst on my walkabout round the streets of Cape Town, I was totally captivated by the orgy of colours, shades and textures at the Salt River Fruit & Vegetable Market - this took me back to my childhood visits to the Leeds Market with my Granddad. This was to be my subject matter and it continues to fascinate me to this day."
This Cape Town artist originally comes from Leeds. From a very young age, a career in art was extremely likely as art was the only subject at school that managed to capture Mark's interest. However, Midgley left school early and took on various jobs to make a living. He was a junior artist in a Leeds design studio, a brickies labourer, a rough neck on drilling rigs and eventually found himself tobacco picking in Canada. From Canada Mark took off travelling around the USA and eventually returned to the UK and received his pre-diploma at Harrogate Art College. He went on to gain an Arts degree from (the now) Leeds Metropolitan University.
In 1979, Midgley followed his family and immigrated to South Africa and worked as a freelance illustrator and designer. In 1984, he exhibited his extraordinary pen and ink drawings of Cape Town to much acclaim and thereafter continued his art studies, taking courses in oil painting and life drawing. Mark had his first solo show of still life fruit and vegetables at Karen McKerron's Gallery in Johannesburg in 1990 - the show completely sold out. His second solo show a year later also sold out. Midgley's work has been compared to the realistic tradition of Dutch still life painting - he is without doubt a most talented artist.