Debbie Mahaffey is a north east artist based in County Durham. The artist works from her studio with its origins in the 19th century. The studio was formerly a hay loft and workshop linked to her childhood home.
Debbie has a BA in Fine Art (hons) degree from the University of Sunderland. Her final show was selected from art schools across the North of England and exhibited as part of the Northern Graduates Exhibition at the Curwen Gallery, London. Since this time Debbie has concentrated on private commissions and is in collections throughout the North East.
As an artist, Debbie has always been intrigued by composition and how that affects the way we interact as a viewer. Strong, bold colour, clean lines, isolation, scale and quirky compositions are all characteristic of the artist’s work.
Living in County Durham, rural life is just a short walk away and with close family links to farming, inspiration is never far away. It was in April 2018, with spring turn out just around the corner, that the artist’s latest body of work was born. It embodies the essence of spring, new beginnings and a perfect place to start.
The artist can often been seen in the cow shed of a dairy farm spending time to gain the calves’ trust or rambling through the trees to capture those quiet moments of a small highland herd, all in the name of art. Getting to know the individual characters, spending time and gaining their trust is a significant part of her work. Drawing upon knowledge derived from her husband’s knowledge, this has enabled the artist to evolve and capture the spirit of these beautiful creatures.
Within the artist’s work there is no attempt to hide the bold yellow tags. It is important to the work, it identifies who the calf is, her parentage, breed, the farm in which she belongs and the country in which she resides. Nor does the artist attempt to unravel the tangled, thick, woolly coat of the highlands, but celebrates their unique look which enables the cow to survive harsh winters.