Guy Masterman’s house is both a home and a gallery after he discovered a hidden talent for art. Sharon Dale reports. Picture by Gary Longbottom.
It took half a century for Guy Masterman to discover his talent for art but it has been well worth the wait. Designing and making his sculptures and highly original homeware from his favourite materials – concrete, steel and plywood – has been a source of joy, especially as his work is much admired.
Until September 22, a selection of it will be at the Great North Art Show at Ripon Cathedral, a free event that Guy was thrilled to be selected for. The rest fills his house, which now doubles as a gallery for his own work and that of other artists.
The art school gallery comprises almost every room in his home in Little Crakehall, near Bedale. It also stretches outside into his studio, garden and beyond into the paddock where Guy and his wife, Emma, keep their five Ryeland sheep.
Among the gallery’s treasures are paintings, sculptures and photography by artists including Jo le Bouder, John Halliday, Rosemary Gascoigne, Hazel Hirst and Alexey Terenin. There are also one-offs that Guy has collected from his travels around the world.
“I began collecting after I was given two pieces of art in lieu of payment for some work I did, says Guy, 62.
“It became a passion and then I started to put other people’s sculptures on plinths I made myself out from concrete.”
Ten years ago, he progressed to making sculptures and homeware from concrete, wood and wire. “I did it for pleasure but my family and friends seemed to really like what I’d made so that spurred me on to take part in the Staithes Festival. We have a holiday home there so we turned it into a temporary gallery and I sold five pieces. I knew then that it was an opportunity to change my life.”
Before becoming an artist/maker, Guy concentrated on a rich and varied career in sport that took him all over the world.
He started as a professional racquetball player and was ranked Britain’s number one before moving into sports marketing and event management, which included working for Fulham Football Club.
He later moved into academia and was head of sport at Sheffield Hallam University and is still a Professor of Sport at the Russian International Olympic University on the Black Sea coast in Sochi. “I still act as a consultant and I lecture in Russia once a year but most of my time is now focused on my art,” he says.
Guy and Emma, who have three grown-up daughters, settled in Crakehall 15 years ago. “We wanted somewhere rural but close to the A1 as at the time I was working at Northumbria University and Emma was working at Leeds Beckett University. This was a 50 miles from each of them,” he says.
The property had been a B&B and the decor was traditional with a riot of colour and pattern from curtains, wallpaper and painted walls. It is now minimalist in comparison. One of the first jobs was to paint every wall white. Curtains were banished and windows are now undressed apart from blinds in the bedrooms. There was also some reconfiguring of space to ensure flow and cater for its new use as a family home.
Guy, who is originally from Huddersfield, did almost all of the work himself as he inherited the building and joinery skills that run in his family.
On the ground floor, what was a series of small rooms is now a spacious dining kitchen with steps leading down to a utility room. The table was a bargain from Ikea bought years ago and it is lit by one of Guy’s lamps, which features a concrete base, steel column and plywood shade. “The wires are usually hidden because I don’t like trailing wires,” he says.
The snug features his concrete and steel side tables with oak tops, along with collections of rare Lego and tin toys housed in wall-hung ply boxes
The enormous drawing room has a wood-burning stove and various places to sit, thanks to a Corbusier chaise, a Butterfly chair and a Mies van der Rohe Barcelona chair. “I love Modernism and love chairs so there are a lot of chairs in this house,” says Guy.
The rest of the room is filled with art, including his wire sculptures, which include various incarnations of Icarus. “I’m obsessed with Icarus and most of my work relates to form, movement and balance. That comes from my life in sport,” says Guy.
Upstairs, the bedrooms feature colourful throws from Marrakesh, paintings for sale and more of Guy’s art school homeware.
Outside what was a garage is now a library and office with more of Guy’s creations, including a wire sculpture of an astronaut suspended next to a plywood planet. This area is the first port of call for visitors on the art school gallery tour, which could soon be enhanced with add-ons.
“I am thinking about doing workshops with the option of glamping in the paddock,” says Guy. “Everyone loves our Ryedale sheep, so they’d be part and parcel of the experience.”
The Great North Art Show is in Ripon Cathedral until September 22. The exhibition features hundreds of artworks by some of the finest Northern contemporary artists. Entry is free. www.greatnorthartshow.co.uk
For details of Guy Masterman’s work and home gallery visit www.artschoolgallery.co.uk