Born as the first of seven children into the post-war industrial town, Thorpe initially took on work in the shipyards, such were his familial origins. A suggestion from.... For More Information +
Born as the first of seven children into the post-war industrial town, Thorpe initially took on work in the shipyards, such were his familial origins. A suggestion from a friend, however, encouraged him to try to pursue his first love, drawing and painting, at art school. Thorpe applied in 1977 to study at the local Cleveland College of Art and Design, where he studied under Tom Wall, leaving two years later for the Byam Shaw College of Art in London, and a fine arts degree. After graduation in 1982, Thorpe remained in the capital to aid disadvantaged children. However, motivated by a desire to provide a better environment for his children to grow up in, Thorpe returned with his family to the North East in 1989. There, he set up Arthaus, a gallery in Richmond, North Yorkshire, which remains to this day.
His works are associated with a principle of "Art from the heart" – combining tenderness with fervency through his abstract depictions of animals and children. His work is wide-ranging from the accessible 'square sheep' and duffle coat boys to more challenging work focusing on isolation and man's struggle. Much of his work depicts his childhood growing up in Middlesbrough.