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Anchorage by Mike Staniford. Photo: Supplied

Artist encourages older people to challenge themselves

After a high-profile corporate role, Mike Staniford left his job to pursue his dream of being an artist and has opened his first solo exhibition at age 65.

Prior to becoming a full-time artist, Staniford was an international creative director in the branding industry, where he worked with CEOs and senior management of major corporations across Asia.

While he enjoyed his fast-paced and frenetic career in design, it wasn’t his passion.

As he grew older, he came to the realisation that the clock was ticking on his opportunity to pursue his love of art, and in 2016 he gave in to a long-held desire to rediscover his creative side and became a full-time artist.

He said transitioning into his new career wasn’t easy, with one of the hardest challenges being the mental adjustment from leading and directing teams to being a lone creative voice.

“You’re never too old to learn, try or achieve, particularly in the art world,” Staniford said. “I’m about 10 years away from being at my peak in painting and I seriously believe that.”

He advised older people to give things a go – an attitude that was reaffirmed by a recent visit from famous Australian painter Guy Warren.

Warren walked into his studio and told Staniford that people are never too old to experiment, and to stay curious.

“Find your way to a group or environment where it’s non-judgemental, don’t shut your mind down but open yourself up,” he said.

Staniford will present his exhibition, Contours, a collection of landscape paintings that explore the contours of the land, from November 8 to 28 at ‘me Artspace’ in St Leonards, Sydney.

Were joined by Staniford to hear what it’s like entering a new career as an older adult.

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