Simon Hartles was born in Manchester in the North of England in 1974 and moved with his family to South Wales at the age of eight. He grew up midway between the industrial mining towns of the South Wales valleys and the stunning welsh coastline. Simon gained a BA (hons) in Ceramics and Glass at Birmingham institute of Art and Design in 1999 and has since lived in both London and Brighton before relocating to West Cornwall with his wife and daughter in 2010.

His love for painting developed during his time at art school where he undertook additional ‘electives’ in sculpture, installation art, performance art and painting at the historic Margaret Street site in central Birmingham. Although his first forays into painting were for the most part figurative and heavily influenced by regular life drawing sessions, he moved away from traditional representational imagery, seeking evermore expressive marks and textures within his work with colour soon becoming a key addition to his abstracted surfaces.

Simon trained as a teacher in 2003 and alongside his studio practice has been employed as a Fine Art lecturer in both London and Cornwall. He is currently the Program Leader for the Contemporary Art Practice HND at the historic Penzance School of Art, one of the oldest provincial art schools in the country. 

Artist Statement

Having originally trained to work with blown glass and ceramic processes, blurred recollections of the heat and flow of molten glass and the alchemy involved in ceramic firings hold an enduring influence upon my current practice which inhabits a space somewhere between painting and sculpture. The work reflects an instinctive curiosity in method and materials, as well as in the rugged post-industrial West Cornwall landscape where I am currently based. Social, political, environmental and industrial legacies become referenced through the use of materials and implied analogy. These forms albeit abstracted through memory and process are recurrently apparent throughout my work.

Colour,texture and surface treatments are intensely important aspects. The works are composed using a wide range of media, from inks and varnishes, oils and emulsions to ash, cement, earth and clays, creating sculptural surfaces of structure and form. Each painted layer develops the history of the surface. Materials accumulate and influence as they build towards a rich and engaging visual abstraction, a narrative account, a recollection of place, a reverberation of colour and form.


Simon Hartles

b.1974, Manchester, UK, Lives and works in West Cornwall, UK.


2003/4 University of Greenwich – PGCE Post Compulsory Cert Ed (Art & Design)

1996/9 University of Central England, Birmingham Institute of Art & Design

BA (Hons) 3D Design (Ceramics & Glass)

1995/6 Mid Glamorgan Centre of Art & Design –BTEC Art and Design Foundation Diploma


2020 Solo exhibition - Elemental - Jupiter Gallery, Newlyn, Cornwall

2019 Refresh Art Award shortlist exhibition, 5th Base Gallery, Brick Lane, London

2019 'Theatre of Landscape' - Simon Hartles and Richard Lapworth, PZ Gallery, Penzance

2018 Group Exhibition, GalleryDu808, Bristol

2018 represented by M.A.P. Gallery at Arte Vicenza, Arte Fiera Dolomiti, Fiera Di Forli Vernice and Arte Genova, Italy

2016 Group Exhibition, Caution Wet Paint, Lander Gallery, Truro

2015 Group Exhibition,The Frame Co, Penzance

2011 Group Exhibition, PZGallery, Penzance

2010 Live painting performance with Jazz Musicians Martin Bowie and John Thompson, PZ Gallery, Penzance

2004 & 2005 Brixton Urban Art Fair, London

2003 & 2004 Solo Exhibitions, The Gowlet Arms, East Dulwich

2001 Solo Exhibition,Thyme restaurant, Blackheath, London


June 2019 shortlisted for Refresh Art Award 2019


June 2019 Review of Refresh Art Award 2019 exhibition at 5th Base Gallery, London


May 2019 Interview with curator of Refresh Art Award 2019


December 2018 Murze Arts magazine, circular art section



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