Born in Sunderland in 1962, Atkinson studied at Sunderland Art College and then at the University of Newcastle. Atkinson first began showing his works in 1986. His works have since been exhibited in California, London, Strasborg, Geneva, Miami, Newcastle and Northumbria. His works are held in collections across the globe including the Dallas Museum of Art, the Schlee Collection and the Hatton Gallery. Dale Atkinson's Self Portrait was acquired by the Collection in 2013 after being entered into the 2013 Prize.
Atkinson is a figurative painter and draftsman. His work seeks to capture the tension between the visible surface of things and their invisible undertow. Atkinson's use of figure, object and line guide their viewer to this space below the surface, which Atkinson regards as a kind of secret futility present in all things.
Atkinson's self-portrait makes this same undertow visible through his use of linework. The rippling lines of Atkinson's form create the sense of a face both charged and enlivened with what lies beneath its surface.