Our Blog

CARP Story – Michael Steer

The CARP project exists to support all artists in their creative practice, including visual artists like Michael Steer who was backed by CARP in 2019.

Michael is Barnsley born and, after a short spell in Stoke-on-Trent, came back to his hometown in 2008 to study Interdisciplinary Art and Design at University Campus Barnsley. Since graduating, he has continued to work towards becoming a professional artist, and the funding he received through CARP allowed him to take another step towards that ambition.

Why CARP? well he elaborates: “I have always had a strong relationship with The Civic and it felt like the natural fit you know, it’s the Gallery in my hometown.” The funding he received from us enabled him to attempt to execute larger work which he was keen to do as an abstract painter, as he explains “so much about abstract work is about creating an aura or feeling”; a larger canvas enables the artist to do this on a grander scale, with the viewer completely absorbed by the piece.  

The funding he secured via CARP led him to create his first solo exhibition I WAS HERE, which was shown on our Panorama space.  Unfortunately, due to Covid-19, the exhibition was cut short, but it was a significant marker for Michael, as he says: “it was the first time I got to think about creating a cohesive narrative with my work.” This process can be a journey. Much of the joy he gets from creating comes from the experimentation itself, starting a piece and not quite knowing where it is going to go.

I WAS HERE was a selection that was inspired by words or as our official copy said, “the ambiguity and connotations of language”. Michael has a fascination with how words and phrases can be easily twisted and explains the brilliance of including them in his work is that “the viewer provides the context”, they bring something to each piece that means something personal to them. Michael took over our Instagram account before Christmas where he discussed his piece No Place Like Home, a painting that took inspiration from the infamous Wizard of Oz quote, and was then on sale as part of an art auction to benefit the Barnsley Rough Sleeper Project. You can catch up with this takeover by following us @civicbarnsley.

Much of his inspiration also comes from poetry, not simply the prose of Keats or Wordsworth, but the poetic nature of objects, “the peculiar beauty that some things have that is difficult to articulate.” Places also stimulate him, which is why Covid-19 has in some ways stifled his creative process, the fact he cannot go out and explore has had an impact. He humorously adds “I’d quite like to go to Center Parcs this year”, where he says there is just “something in the air” that is inspirational; his trip continues to go through that familiar, Covid-19 cycle of delay.

Despite this, he is still absolutely brimming with ideas, all of which are being added to an 8-year-old note on his phone which contains all his creative visions. He is recent ambition is to create a full-size exhibition with work expanding away from paint, including sculpture and a lot of new techniques that he must learn how to master. But with his creative strive and everything he has achieved so far, we know he will get there.

You can find out more about Michael on his website or drop him a follow on his Instagram account. He is also a wonderful writer and composed a blog which is available to read on our website.


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email


Q&A with Sioda Adams

We had a catch up with Sioda Adams who worked with her sister Keira Martin to create Good Blood, a show which will be part of our upcoming New Work...

Read More

Teenage Wildlife

We are pleased to announce the launch of Teenage Wildlife, a new multi-generational community engagement project, which will encourage Barnsley residents to engage with the history of Eldon Street and...

Read More

Proper Job take on The Trial

Proper Job Theatre Company, based in Huddersfield, create and tour new exciting work, produce large-scale theatre events and support and nurture individuals from the local community. Proper Job are the...

Read More

An interview with Jamie Reid

Composed by John Marchant, Jeremy Gluck and GSA Swansea. Punk is still the music anybody can play, a dream you can have when you’re awake. Its energy and ethos have...

Read More

Welcome Keira Martin

We wanted to introduce you to Keira Martin, dancer, choreographer, maker and working class Yorkshire lass from Barnsley. Throughout the second half of this year, Keira will be working with...

Read More

join our newsletter list

Join our mailing list and we will keep you up to date with all the latest shows, events at The Civic.


Donate and Support us with even the smallest donation. 

Subscribe to our Newsletter

* indicates required
Anything else you want to hear about?
Skip to content