Martin Davis

Martin Davis

derby, United Kingdom

About Martin Davis

I am an ex-firefighter turned artist. After university I spent more than 30 years in the fire & rescue service, during which time I found painting was a perfect antidote to the stresses of my operational working life. I committed myself fully to art in 2008 after retirement and have spent the last 13 years finding my distinctive artistic voice. I am by admission an instinctive artist. Almost wholly self-trained, my only formal qualification is an Art GCE “O” level from my schooldays. Even so my artwork is bought by private collectors around the world and has secured gallery space throughout the UK as well as here in my native Derbyshire where I work from my home studio in Swanwick. My most recent successes are being selected to exhibit in the prestigious Harley Gallery Open and the ING Discerning Eye exhibitions 2020.

Mainly an artist in oils my output can be diverse & wide-ranging. I draw inspiration from any combination of light and form that strikes a chord from my background. Apart from my current focus on still life and portraiture my output has included landscapes & urban scenes and more figurative/abstract work. But whatever the subject matter my painterly style is characterized by a trademark vibrancy of colour and attention to fine detail, sometimes accompanied by a slightly surreal twist.

I consider myself a contemporary artist who paints in a traditionalist manner. My greatest aspiration is to develop a signature style that is recognisably my own. But for some of it to mean something to someone else and to give lasting pleasure would be the ultimate payback. I am always trying to exhibit more so I can share my work......but it’s not the reason I paint, it never was. Painting for me just calms my soul, it’s my private world. It has to be, or it wouldn’t work for me.

I don’t have preferred subject matter. Instead my imagination is fired by the unexpected in everyday things, or by a memory, or even by words – particularly poetry. Sometimes just part of a remembered image - perhaps something simple like sunlight playing on a hat brim - can be enough. There is a certain strength or beauty inside everything if you look hard enough – it doesn’t have to be something intrinsically pretty, or attractive or especially worthy of attention. Quite often it is better if it isn’t.

My work can be seen from time to time in numerous galleries in and around my home county of Derbyshire – and recently in London too - and it continues to attract interest from private collectors around the world.


I graduated in Economics from the University of Birmingham in 1976 and, after a brief spell in finance, I went on to complete over 30 years in the UK fire & rescue service. Although I never really stopped painting I only turned fully to art after my retirement in 2008. Only then, having already brought up a family and completed a demanding & full career, could I find the time I needed to devote to it.
Artistically I am almost entirely self taught with no formal training beyond school. I still consider myself a student practicing art, and probably I always will. I may never reach the point where I can say “now I'm a real artist”, but then my art has always been more about the journey than the end product, something I am comfortable with.


"Resilient self" - curated group exhibition of self portraits at Espacio Gallery, Bethnal Green Road, London E2 7DG from 30th July - 7th August 2020. Prize winner in exhibition.


4th-30th March 2016, "A Spring gathering"
The Green Man Gallery
Buxton, Derbyshire UK

6th-10th April 2016 "Looking to the stars" (Hornshaw Gallery)
Brick Lane Gallery Annexe
London E1

20th Aug-17th Sept 2016 "Midlands Open Exhibition", Tarpey Gallery, Derbys UK

16th-29th Sept 2017
"Figures", Leabrooks Arts Complex
Somercotes,Derbyshire UK

Pentrich Revolution Bicentenary Group Exhibition 2017, various locations throughout the year Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire

Buxton Spa Prize Exhibition, The Green Man Gallery, Hardwick Square South, Buxton, Derbys. 1st – 31st July 2017

“Figures”, 4th solo exhibition Leabrooks Arts Complex, Leabrooks Road, Alfreton, Derbys. 16th – 29th September 2017

Great Sheffield Art Show 2017, Open exhibition, Millennium Gallery, Sheffield. 16 – 19th November 2017

Derbyshire Artists Guild, Inaugural Group exhibition, Baslow Village Hall, Baslow, Derbys 9th-10th Dec 2017

"Behind the smile" group exhibition, Banks Mill Studios, Derby Feb/March 2018

Trees & Water, solo exhibition, West Studios, Sheffield Road, Chesterfield 9th Jan-1st Feb 2019

Great Sheffield Art Show 2019, Open exhibition, Millennium Gallery, Sheffield.
November 2019

Post Covid exhibition, St John Street Gallery, Ashbourne, Derbys 15th June- 25th July

Harley Open 2020, The Harley Gallery, Welbeck, Notts 1st Aug-1st Nov

ING Discerning Eye 2020, curated group exhibition, 19th Nov - 31st Dec