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This interview is taken from PN Review 193, Volume 36 Number 5, May - June 2010.

Before I Became Modern Art: Trevor Winkfield in Conversation Miles Champion

Having first met Trevor Winkfield in 1994, when he was already well known as a painter, I had long wanted to ask him about his activities prior to becoming a full-time painter in 1976. During the summer of 2009, we often met for lunch in a small park not far from where Winkfield now lives, in New York’s West Village. The following interview is the result of those meetings.

MILES CHAMPION: Your childhood interests in heraldry and medieval pageantry are well documented, and clearly manifest in your work. How did you get from these early preoccupations with flatness and ceremony to wanting, as a fifteen-year-old in late-1950s Leeds, to visit Kurt Schwitters’ Merzbarn in the Lake District and Francis Bacon’s ‘Figure Study II’ at Batley Art Gallery?

TREVOR WINKFIELD: I’ve just been hit by a thunderbolt! I now realise after all these years that both represented escapes from Leeds - the first of my long pilgrimages to see single works of art. I must have had wanderlust even when I was fifteen. I’d already seen a Bacon painting of a man in a shower at Leeds Art Gallery, and the other nearest Bacon was only a twelve-mile bike ride away. So I borrowed my father’s work bike, had my mother pack some sandwiches and a flask of tea, and off I went. I don’t think I even had a map, I just followed the signposts. Very exciting.

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