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Biography

Biography

Mike Jeffries (Born 26th April 1939) is an English born professional artist who specialises in depicting road and rail transport in authentic settings of the mid 20th century.

Life in the fifties

Mike soon made many friends in his new home and attended Central Grammar school, leaving in 1955 with five GCEs ,one of course in Art , but had for years been winning a half-a- crown (12p) in the weekly Daily Express art competition which supplemented his income from his paper round.

Art wasn’t considered a career option in those days so very much against his will he was ushered into a career as an apprentice in the jewellery trade. Soon bored with a life at a work bench and much to the despair of his parents he then joined British Railways as a locomotive fireman at Saltley shed where he worked on all types of steam engines from little 0.6.0s to the mighty 9F 2.10.0s until called up for National Service at the end of 1958.

Even though far from the world of art Mike counts this as one of the happiest of times where the dirty, arduous and sometimes dangerous but always exciting life on the footplate gave him a working knowledge of the railway and the steam locomotive which stood him in good stead as a railway artist later on.

The dismal seventies

Now a married man with a young son Mike and family moved back to Plymouth to work as an artist but it proved to be a false start and although moderately successful he wasn’t yet ready to make a good living from his work and had to return to driving to live. Now with a broken marriage behind him Mike had to compromise so from the mid seventies worked at churning out what the gallery trade called “pot-boilers”, pictures known to sell but soul destroying to produce. With up to ten or even twenty pictures a week to complete but not in his chosen field of transport art Mike was yet to make a mark as a serious artist.

The nice nineties

Building on his success with Eversheds Mike with help from his good friend Julian Bowden was introduced to vehicle historian Peter Love who was about to launch a new magazine aimed at the growing vintage commercial vehicle market. Mike’s work now started to appear on the covers and centre-speads of the new magazine, print sales and many more commissions followed including the use of his images on greetings and postcards. Mike was now recognized as one of the country’s leading transport artists and the first hand experience of his chosen subject gave his work a credibility which set it apart.

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