Former Olympian turns to fine arts

Neil Eckersley, who has gone from martial arts to fine art.
Neil Eckersley, who has gone from martial arts to fine art.
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A former Olympic judo bronze medallist is turning his hands to gentler skills and making moves in the world of fine arts.

Neil Eckersley, who lives in Lancaster, was Britain’s leading extra-lightweight judo player for a decade, winning his bronze at the Los Angeles games of 1984.

He has coached the national junior team for many years and has been recently been awarded an Associate Professorship with the European and USA Kilohana Association.

But recently he has gone back to another love of his and is taking a firm grip on the art world with a stunning portfolio of new works being showcased on the Saatchi online collection of paintings by up and coming artists.

Neil said: “I grew up in a tough area, which explains why I wanted to learn how to look after myself - but the art came from a need to express myself and give an outlet for my creative urges.

“I’d always had a problem with the written word because of my dyslexia but found painting to be the perfect way to express emotions and things I wanted to put across.

“I still travel quite extensively with my martial arts and always have an eye on interesting new subjects to represent in my abstract work. “It’s an exciting area to explore and requires a different kind of discipline – but it’s something I really enjoy and in which I’m getting a fair bit of interest.”

Neil’s latest works feature the New York skyline and these, plus many of his other paintings, can be viewed (and bought!) at

Neil is also staging his first local exhibition featuring a collection of his contemporary work, entitled ‘City SkyScapes and Feelings of the Soul’, at The Thomas Storey Gallery, Meeting House Lane, Lancaster, from March 18 to April 20, with a special ‘meet the artist’ launch event from 4-7pm on Saturday, March 16.