Architect switches Qatar for Suffolk to open new art studio

Architect Stephen Watkins has opened his own art studio at Stonham Barns in Suffolk

Architect Stephen Watkins has opened his own art studio at Stonham Barns in Suffolk - Credit: Keith Suffling/Stonham Barns Park

An architect has swapped the futuristic skylines of Qatar for the beauty of Suffolk as he launches his new art studio.

Stephen Watkins, 45, has opened his new studio at Stonham Barns after living on the Arabian Peninsula for 10 years, where he worked on major projects including a hospital build.

It was life on the Gulf that inspired him to expand his horizons to art, after being enchanted by the mix of futuristic skyscrapers and ultramodern architecture inspired by ancient Islamic design. 

His art, which captures city skylines, quickly gained him plaudits – with the now Dennington resident selling more than 200 paintings at a number of high profile exhibitions. 

Mr Watkins previously worked as an architect in Doha, Qatar

Mr Watkins previously worked as an architect in Doha, Qatar - Credit: Keith Suffling/Stonham Barns Park

The award-winning artist said: "As part of my time there I revisited my love of painting and my focus was to give permanence to memories such as travel and significant life-shaping events; and I have now become known for immortalising skylines and places that mean something to my life or to the lifestyle of my clients.

"I came back to the UK with no fixed plans other than to dedicate more time to developing my art obsession and spending more time with my three daughters, who are all themselves budding artists.

"The pandemic gave me the opportunity to dedicate the time I needed to create new pieces of work and this has helped me to develop my portfolio."

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Mr Watkins uses acrylic paint on canvas, and his paintings have also included timelines of a city's skylines, telling a story of not only the place in question – but how they have changed the lives of others.

Collections include art in London, New York City and Manchester – while another collection focuses on Framlingham, and another on LGBTQ+ pride.

Mr Watkins added: "I have run painting sessions on social media and have had more success than I would have ever thought of via these platforms.

"I now have 18,000 Facebook followers and am hoping to continue to expand this key audience for my business.

"The new studio and exhibition space in Suffolk gives me another opportunity to reach out to new customers as I continue to pursue my love of art and architecture."

His work will be displayed at future exhibitions at Brick Lane Gallery, as well as a solo exhibition at The Aldeburgh Gallery.

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