Keith enjoying his degree of success

From sheet metal to ceramics, a Norristhorpe man has just completed a fine art degree – at the age of 69.

Keith Ainley, of Forge Lane, has finished studying for a BA in Fine Art from the Bradford School of Art, and is due to attend graduation in December.

Keith was a general works manager at the former Whiteley’s sheet metal works in Cleckheaton before leaving the company nine years ago, and said that he took to his new calling like a duck to water.

“I’d done a bit of dabbling in art, but after being made redundant, I started going to night school classes,” he said.

“After a while, they told me they’d taken me as far as they could, and I should study for a degree.”

Keith then did a two-year foundation course before going onto study for his BA, and managed to make certain alterations to his home along the way.

“Much to my wife’s dismay, I converted our upstairs lounge into an art studio when I started studying about five years ago!” he joked.

Keith wrote his dissertation on the Trompe l’oeil movement – a French art technique used to fool the eye with ultra-realistic imagery – and was inspired by contemporary artists working in this field such as York-based Ben Arnup.

On finishing the course, students showcased their work at an exhibition in June this year, and Keith said his pieces proved popular among the guests.

“As part of our final degree mark, we had a summer show – and I managed to sell most of my pieces!” he said.

Keith will be 70 when he graduates, and says to those thinking of studying something new later in life: “Do it now, don’t wait. Don’t be nervous or worried that you might not be good enough – just explore what’s out there because there is lots to do and see.”