Born in York, where he first studied painting, Jake Attree graduated from Liverpool College of Art and the Royal Academy Schools. He now lives with his wife, Lindsay, in the West Yorkshire village of Saltaire, near Bradford, and maintains a studio at Dean Clough in Halifax.
Yorkshire’s geology, history and culture are woven into Attree’s creative DNA, but while he was born in the North and lives there still, Attree dislikes the term “northern artist”, if only because it is hopelessly limited.
“I was initially, and still am, deeply influenced by the art of Northern Europe, principally because, I suppose, I am northern European. The light Rubens responded to in seventeenth-century Flanders later influenced Constable in nineteenth-century Suffolk, and later still, Constable opened my eyes to the light of the flat, water meadow-surrounded city of York.
As I developed and dug deeper, and began to look wider, at the magnificent bronze sculpture of Benin, for example; at Iznik tiles and the beauty woven into Persian carpets, it slowly began to dawn on me that this is one culture; an artist from one country recognising the gift offered by another (or appropriated from it, depending on one’s point of view). I recognised in this diverse range of expression one voice that speaks of the need to assert our equality of achievement and purpose, our need to assert a common humanity.”