Local children have been welcoming an un-feathered friend into their homes and hearts.  A very popular artist Janice Foley has written and published her very first book, a children’s book describing the perils and the adventures of a real life garden visitor. Now Baldric, the unfeathered friend, has struck a real chord with children and grandparents alike and the first print run has absolutely flown out.

Janice runs Yarm Originals website, an online gallery that champions local and national artists and brings affordable art to people. Jan’s own paintings of Roseberry Topping have proved to be a real hit, often featuring the enigmatic Roseberry.

I met up with Jan in her Eaglescliffe home to hear all about the unfortunate bird Baldric and how the book has been such a sensation. Oh and I was so lucky because after the interview Jan read the first chapter to me. It was wonderful.

So let’s celebrate International Women’s Day by talking about the first book of a much loved local artist, Janice Foley.

baldrics-big-adventureQ: Jan please tell me about the book and the bird, Baldric?

Jan: Baldric is a real bird that appeared in my garden on April 1st last year.

Q: April Fools’ Day?

J: April Fools’ Day, yes, and everyone thought that I was pulling their legs until I took a photograph to show what he actually looked like. He had no feathers on his head. He was like a little miniature vulture.

Q: Very distinctive then?

J: Yes and quite jittery and jumpy and didn’t mix with the other birds.

So I looked up online why you would get a bald headed black bird and it could be a virus or a ring worm or it could be stress. Maybe he needed to find a mate.

So in my head when people started commenting that he would be cold and he needed a hat and he needed a mate and things like that, I decided to just think about why he was bald and maybe stressed. And I decided he was scared and he was going to be anxious and worry about everything.

Then one day he met the lady in the shed, the artist. That’s me. That is where I paint. The lady in the shed told him that he needed to go off and find himself and have some adventures and to be happy again.

Q: And you captured his adventures in a book.

J: Yes. Thirteen chapters. He sets off and leaves me and heads off to Roseberry Topping. Because that is where most of my paintings are set. And the Roseberry Hare does feature in the story but only for a brief moment because the book isn’t about him, that is a different book.

Q: The hare is a character that you introduced into your paintings and it became very popular.

J: Three years ago now and it is still incredibly popular. The Roseberry Hare has travelled all around the world. Hong Kong, Tasmania, Australia, Europe and America.

Q: Is this the first time you have actually written?

J: I have never written anything before in my life.

Q: That must have been quite a challenge for you.

J: Yes but I found it fairly easy really. It just flowed. Once I had the idea of the storyline, where he needed to go off and have adventures, it just happened. It was quite easy.

Q: I would have struggled even more writing for children.

J: I got the ideas from stories I remembered from my own children, my daughter in particular. I probably shouldn’t say this but she used to be scared of going to the toilet and bathroom on a night time in the dark. She was fine until she had to cross the landing and we could hear her charging across the landing. She was safe in the bathroom and then she had to charge back.

That was one idea of a scared child and a storyline for the blackbird. So that is in the book.

baldric-3Q: So do you think this story of the scaredy-bird will help children overcoming their own fears.

J: I think so because a part of the story in the first chapter is that the bird has no friends in the garden. Because he is different the other birds avoid him, and the snails make fun of him and the hedgehogs don’t like him and they scare him when they scrape under the gate late at night. So he has got no friends.

The lady says you have got to leave this garden, with the high fences and go off and make some friends.

It all works out quite happily for the bird, he does manage to find some friends. The book goes through the seasons as well. At some point it gets really cold and wintry and he has to find a hat for his head because he is so cold.

Q: So, back the suggestions at the start.

J: Yes, the ladies that suggested I knit a hat for him, yes. So, yes he does end up with a hat.

Q: Has the book made it into schools?

J: I have a couple of teacher friends and I have given them copies and they have taken them in and read them to four and five year olds over the course of a few days because it is quite a long book with eleven chapters so they couldn’t take it all in, in one reading session.

It has gone to ten year olds in a school. And they very kindly wrote to me. I got seventeen reviews back, which were absolutely brilliant. I got some lovely comments from them, very positive. I have been invited to go to another school and read it. I have done a book signing with it. And I have been invited by the WI to give a talk on how I started off to become an artist first and then to write my first book. I am doing that in April.

Q: It was April 2016 when this all started.

J: Yes, so it is about a year since we all met Baldric and I can go and talk about how I started painting initially and then I went from that to someone that wrote a book.

Q: I don’t suppose you would have imagined this time last year that you would have completed a book.

J: No, not at all. Although people have always asked about the Roseberry Hare, did he have a story? And he does and that will be coming out at some point. But not yet, for a while.

Q: Was this a limited print run?

J: The first run is a limited edition and we will soon be sold out of those.

Q: It is a really quality publication.

J: That was important to me. Nice thick paper. I have seen copies that children have looked at and had for a few weeks and they still look as good as new. The pictures had to be good quality for the illustrations. So it was important to me that it was a hard back, hard wearing, nice thick pages and large print. A lot of people that have bought it are quite elderly and have bought it as gifts for their grandchildren so they could read it to them. So it is quite important that the text size is big as well.

I have actually taken it into a nursing home and read it to some of the elderly people in there and they have loved it. They found it funny and entertaining.

Q: All those things that you list from the hard back to quality illustrations and nice big text that is how I remember books from my childhood. It used to be that way, didn’t it?

J: It did, yes. The difference between my book and what children are reading now is it is a lot longer and has a lot more words in. Although some children have actually said it is too long because they are used to very short, brief, a few lines to a story. But teachers have said that is one of the best books they have seen lately because it is different. But it is different in that it has gone back to how I would see books when I was young.

Q: Speaking to some teachers they tell me that some of the children try and move the pages of books with their fingers as if they are a smart phone screen.

J: I have seen that yes, I can understand that. I have done that on my computer screen and wondered why it isn’t working.

Q: It must be nice to produce a proper book.

J: It is nice to see that some children actually still read proper books, yes definitely.

Q: You have achieved a lot with this book. Is the next step to do another print run?

J: I think there will be some more copies but what they will look like I don’t know. Obviously I want to keep the price down and get it out there into some book shops. At the moment I am selling them myself. To get them in bookshops is another ambition. Also, to maybe take them into hospitals and children’s homes and get them out there to people that actually can’t afford the books would be nice as well.

baldric-and-janQ: Have you sold these books in the same way that you sell your paintings.

J: I have yes and it has mainly been online. Or people have come to me because they have heard about it. Not so many local people but this is the way the paintings go as well. My paintings go to people all around the country far more than they do locally.

Q: Have the people around the country got a link to this area?

J: Sometimes yes, they have moved away or they have visited here for holidays and have a special memory of Roseberry Topping and this area. They are bought as gifts as well for people that have lived here to give to family members etc.

Q: There is something about Roseberry Topping, isn’t there?

J: There is something magical about Roseberry Topping. We have all got a good memory of it and it is a place that you notice when you are coming back home. It is visible from so many miles around that we all see it is a landmark that means something to us in lots of different ways.

My uncle and aunt used to live at Great Ayton and as a child we used to go on two buses on a Sunday morning from Eaglescliffe to get to Great Ayton and it seemed to take hours and hours to get there. And then there was Roseberry Topping and just the magic of Great Ayton really. My uncle was an artist, just an amateur, he painted for pleasure. He did a few Roseberry Toppings and he always put a little snail in his paintings as a symbol. A lot of people see my Roseberry Hare as my symbol but there is actually another symbol that is hidden in the paintings as well. Some people know about it but I’m not going to say what that is, not just yet. At some point it will come out. But you can find it if you go looking for it.

Q: So, we should all look closely.

J: Yes, you should buy a painting and then you can see what it is (laughs).

You can order the last few copies of the book and view both Jan and other artists work online



Spectacular Super Saturday Night

It was a big Saturday out in downtown Middlesbrough, Peg Powler Art Collective curated an art and art party down at the House of Blah Blah, The Spectacular Super Show.

peg-powler-blah-blahThe facebook invite billed it as a special one night only event featuring art, early doors disco, a kissing booth and a dress up box and lots more besides.

peg-blah-tallArtists, entertainers and exceptional hosts AJ Garrett and Rebecca Little founded the DIY art organisation Peg Powler back in 2010. Named after a legendary green hag that lurks in floods from the River Tees the collective has been responsible for all sorts of arts events and happenings from exhibitions to zine workshops. Rebecca and AJ were recently named in the Gazette in a list of movers and shakers for a new Teesside.

This Saturday Peg Powler were bringing a touch showbiz to that fantastic art space House of Blag Blah. I always think the former postal building is like a slice of New York or Chicago or Manchester warehouse/factory in Middlesbrough.

As soon as you entered through the big external doors there was plenty of artwork on the walls, including paintings, drawings, photography and sculpture by AJ & Rebecca as well as Peg Powler favourites Shaun Elliott, Nuala C. Murphy, Joanne Taylor, James Harris and novelist Richard Milward.

peg-blah-blahI enjoyed seeing Shaun’s large colourful and hyperactive canvases again; last viewed at his Python Gallery one man exhibition last year. There weren’t too many tears to be shed over AJ’s clowns. James Harris charming cathedrals of Europe sketches contained comments not usually found in Rough Guides but then again he will never live on a Lonely Planet with his sense of humour. A sense of humour further expanded on the walls of the arty party in full flow next door.

peg-poweler-shaunRebecca, who has her own acclaimed club night in Liverpool and back in the day used to DJ in Uncle Alberts (Can anyone remember it ? Just round the corner from Blah Blah) was spinning the discs. Cruisers Creek by The Fall was on the turntable when I entered the room. There was plenty of dancing going on to her alternative, indie-pop, C86, 60s, post-punk, new wave sounds.

peg-blah-barAJ who had been at the dress up box big style was selling kisses, for the Donkey Sanctuary charity ( There were one or two people wandering around with the tell-tale red lipstick on the cheeks afterwards.


Richard Milward’s Rebirth Pool

It is not only your bookshelf that demands a presence from Richard Milward but your walls as well. The Teesside novelist rose to fame and acclaim with his first book Apples is now making his mark with a paint brush. You can buy limited prints of paintings that can be every bit as edgy and engaging as his novels. The prices should be affordable for most.

Richard’s first book Apples was published by Faber and Faber in 2007, he followed this with Ten Storey Love Song and, most recently, Kimberly’s Capital Punishment. Set on a Middlesbrough housing estate Apples plots, school, night life and dislocated families from the dark and stuffed underbelly up. The characters that populate his paintings are just as shocking and in your face as those from the novels.

Apples has since been performed on stage and Richard has written essays, articles and all things in between from magazines ranging from Dazed and Confused to Fly Me To The Moon. Richard’s impact was recognised with an honorary degree from University of Teesside in 2013.

Here is a short interview with the Middlesbrough born writer and painter.

Q: You are well known for your writing Richard but tell us a little about your art background?

RM: I was writing constantly through my teens, but by the time I left sixth-form college I wanted to study Art rather than English Language/Literature, and managed to get into Cleveland College of Art & Design then Byam Shaw at Central St Martins in London. It makes a lot more sense to me how Art is taught compared to English or other subjects, since you’re encouraged to be fully experimental, take risks, and not feel straitjacketed by rules (grammar, spelling, certain formulas etc). Art colleges give you free reign to explore all kinds of different ideas in different ways, and it’s a blessing you don’t even really have to be able to draw to get into one. You just need an open brain.

rm-the-rebirth-pool_pink-printQ: Having seen you perform live reading from your work I have seen you wear elaborate props – that was my first introduction to your art work I think? Does it all tie together for you like that, the art and literature? Are you drawn towards characters in both?

RM: Yeah, there’s definitely similarities. My paintings are quite cartoonlike, like aspects of some of my books, and populated by characters that seem half grotesque, half wide-eyed and innocent. Painting almost works as an antidote to novel-writing for me though. Painting is more physical, especially when it’s properly expressive, and you’ve always got the full picture in front of you: you can adjust it all in just a few strokes. Writing a novel is a lot more slippery: you can get tangled in all the loose ends, all the different strands of the story, but then it’s a lot more satisfying once it all comes together.

Q: You had an exhibition not that long ago at House of Blah Blah, was that a big step exhibiting live? It is a great venue by the way, so atmospheric.

RM: Yeah The House of Blah Blah is really special. Good on them for getting their hands on that building and holding genuinely unique and obscure events there, from fashion shows to raves to exhibitions. It was nice of them to trust me enough to produce whatever I wanted. I don’t think they’d even seen what I was up to until the day of setting up for the opening night. I feel like other institutions can be a lot more cagey nowadays about giving artists free reign, and as a result the work can end up a lot more sterile or benign. Like Malcolm McLaren says: ‘Better to be a spectacular failure than a benign success.’ Too right.

Q: Can you tell us something about the paintings that you are selling prints of, a bit of background to the subjects and what kinds of things you were expressing? Are they limited editions too?

RM: Over the years a fair few folk have come up to me asking if I ‘d ever thought about selling prints, so I finally decided to take the plunge, especially now my pockets are more threadbare than usual. There’s a mix of prints I’m selling: four of them come from The Rebirth Pool series I did for The Tunnel Gallery under Middlesbrough train station (and also exhibited at The House of Blah Blah, and The Social, London). These are swirling retina-burning illustrations based on the hypnotic ‘mandalas’ of India and beyond, with all sorts of cryptic symbols. Also, there’s a print of a painting I did in 2007 called ‘Frisky Disco’, a splashback snapshot of Eve from Apples surrounded by a pack of thirsty creatures in a dreamlike or nightmarish nightspot. The prints are limited to 250 copies – and they’re all signed and hand-numbered.

Q: You have recently had an essay published alongside Natalie Hardwick in Stripped Tees can you tell us something about the idea behind that project?

RM: Natalie got in touch out of the blue a couple of years back, asking if I fancied writing 10,000 words on any aspect of Teesside I wanted, for a publisher she knows called Influx Press. Natalie hails from Stockton – she’s a great writer, a journalist for the BBC and Guardian among many others, and she wrote the other essay in the Stripped Tees book. Influx’s output tends to hone in on often overlooked areas of the UK. I feel like I’ve written a lot about the Boro in my fiction, but again it was great to be given free reign to write something non-fiction about the area.

Q: You have written about Grove Hill, somewhere that all too often gets a bad press. You live in that part of the town, do you find hope or hopelessness lurking there?

rm-frisky-disco-printRM: With a heavy heart I’ve got to admit I live in London now – but when I was writing the essay I was in a flat just behind Palladium Shops, so for seven or eight years I’d seen first-hand what was going on with the redevelopment of the area. Mainly in the piece I’m talking about how, despite the onslaught of bad press Grove Hill’s received, it’s only a small minority of people who caused problems there, and it’s a shame the whole area had to suffer, and subsequently be half-demolished because of it. By the time I’d finished the writing it was still difficult to draw any conclusions – the economy collapsed just after Ray Mallon vowed to ‘get it right’ with the estate, so most probably that’s the major reason the upheaval and airbrushing’s been stalled. I go into it a lot more deeply in the essay, but in a nutshell I’m not convinced you can just dislocate half an estate’s residents, disinfect their shadows, then rebuild shiny new abodes and expect the place’s reputation to be ‘cured’. The estate’s (and the region’s) problems are more deeper-rooted than that, and now undeniably exacerbated by the current government’s policies…

Q: Can I expand that a bit. You are a passionate Teessider and have also experienced living away. Do you still find home pride here?

RM: Absolutely. I miss the place a lot. My last couple of years in the Boro were slightly marred by a dire money situation, which a lot of others in the town suffer too, but I reckon it’s difficult to feel completely lonely in the Boro. We plough on…

Q: What are you working on at the moment, writing wise?

RM: I’m juggling a few ideas at the minute. I’m hoping there’ll be some news of my next novel, as well as a collection of short stories soon.

Q: Are there any plans for another exhibition?

rm-degreeRM: Yeah. This year I’ve been working on a new series of paintings called ‘Luddites’ Nightmares’. It’s been 200 years since the original Luddites smashed up machinery in protest at their quality of life being strangled by the powers that be – so I’ve created ten modern-day paintings that aim to expose and/or poke fun at the way technology distorts and disrupts life nowadays. Looks like I’ll be showing them in London earlyish next year, then hoping to bring them back North after that.

Q: And finally how are you enjoying the Boro’s return to the Premier League?

RM: I’m buzzing we’re back up there. It’s a tough league of course and there’ll be plenty of nerve-shredding twists to come, but I feel confident we’ll stay up, and that’s all I want. I had a feeling before the start of the season we’d avoid many 3+ goal drubbings, and Aitor’s proven good to that so far…

Q: How can people buy your prints, Richard?

RM: I’ve just set up an online shop here:

There’s 5 prints up for sale there at the minute, £45 apiece. Depending on how well these go down, there’ll be more prints to come, as well as some signed books and other bits and pieces. I’d appreciate it massively if people have a look and buy something…



Ayresome Park Portrait Painter Paul Town

Paul Town has a passion for football and painting. He has combined the two interests to paint portraits of football stadia. I think you will be really interested in his painting, just recently completed of Ayresome Park. It is available to buy.
I met Paul when I was working on the excavation of the Bradford Park Avenue ground last summer. He brought some of his paintings of the former ground down to the dig and they so captured the atmosphere and the architecture that it almost felt like he was bringing the old place back to life again.
Paul is a real dedicated historian in researching his paintings. At Bradford Park Avenue he spent hours interviewing people and also testing sight lines for himself before embarking on a commission of the old ground from the much loved, Doll’s House.

I diverted off route to a Boro away game to have a look at Paul’s Stadium Portraits shop at a Christmas Fayre back in December. I spent so long looking at his paintings of old Valley Parade, Molineux, Elland Road etc that I almost missed the kick off the Boro away game at Huddersfield.
Talking of Huddersfield it would have been the old Leeds Road ground rather than the present John Smith’s that would grab the brush and attention of Paul. On his Christmas fayre stand there various iconic Archibald Leitch stadia represented from England and Scotland. Ayresome Park, opened in 1903 followed Park Avenue as a Leitch engineered construction.
I decided to ask Paul a few questions about how and why he has moved on from being a builder to a portrait painter of football stadiums.

How did you get interested in painting old grounds?
My interest began in painting the old classic stadiums around 3 years ago. I used to sketch the stadiums I had visited whilst watching my hometown club Bradford City. Ayresome Park was one of the grounds I looked forward to visiting, as it had character and a great atmosphere. The grounds these days are in my opinion all too similar and soulless. I see it as my job now to bring those distant memories back to the true supporter, with an atmospheric twist.
How long have you been a Bradford City fan?
I’ve followed Bradford City since the mid 1970s. I suppose our history, the ground and the unfortunate tragic disaster we had in 1985 has compounded my interest in the old stadiums. Valley Parade was a ramshackle ground before the fire, however we have seen the stadium rise from the ashes as a memorial to the fans that lost they’re lives. It is something that will live with me forever. I was lucky to escape the inferno, however the memories and sadness for the lost and injured is still very painful almost 31 years on. There is a fantastic spirit and bond around the club; it’s almost like we feel a need to support the club through thick and thin because of this.
Did the painting begin as a hobby?
Painting stadiums did start out as a hobby, although to my surprise it very quickly turned into a business, from which turned full time around 12 months ago. I’ve managed to sell portraits of various clubs stadiums worldwide. One of my next commissions is the old Polo Grounds Baseball stadium in New York. This is my dream job, and I’m very lucky. It’s all I ever wanted to be from childhood, a professional artist.
Do you paint individual commissions?
Around 3 years ago I started painting various stadiums on a whim. My main objective was to try to paint the old Bradford Park Avenue stadium to perfection, since I’ve received numerous commissions to paint the old ground. It’s actually my all time favourite stadium, which as a City fan takes some saying, but if honest how could you not love it. Full of character with a spooky presence. Also my father scored a goal in a trials match there, so it’s always remained special.
In between commissioned pieces I paint any stadium I choose to then produce prints of to sell. On most occasions the originals will sell also. This can lead to further commissions from supporters of that club. This is my second Ayresome Park portrait.
Tell us more about the Ayresome Park painting?
My first Ayresome portrait was painted with a view looking across to the main stand from the corner of the Holgate terrace. For this present portrait I decided to choose the opposite end, with a floodlit scene versus Newcastle from the 1970s. It’s the era I loved and watching the games on tv was always a special experience for me as a youngster. I was obsessed by the stadiums and crowd noises.
Do people miss the old stadiums do you think and the individual character of their structures?
Football grounds today are much of a muchness to me. The old stadiums had character in abundance. Archibald Leitch whose engineering skills shaped many of the stadiums within the UK is my hero. His eye for not only maximising capacities, but building stunning stands was unique. I feel we have lost our way with stadia design. It would be superb to see elements of the past incorporated with the modern arenas. Sadly I don’t believe the architects today understand.
Take a look at some of Paul’s paintings on his website. The Ayresome Park painting is now finished and available to buy.
Stadium Portraits

ayresome paul town


Brutal Beauty

Walking through the mima shop the other day my eyes did a double take on a collection of small prints. The subject matter seemed familiar but it was depicted in a quite unfamiliar way. On closer inspection I realised I had seen the images of cooling towers and rocket shaped tower blocks on facebook. Buildings and structures that would normally be logged firmly in the eyesore section were given the iconic treatment. Brutal maybe but brutally honest. More than that, strikingly different, never indifferent.

The artist responsible for this rebranding is Eugene Schlumberger. Now, I knew Eugene as former Fly Me To The Moon columnist, the man behind the first inception of Football Unfocussed. I wondered how the man of Boro letters had come to pick up a camera and paint brush and was making us look again at our environment and turning examples of a concrete jungle into monuments of aesthetic beauty.

eugene church houseWhat came first, your interest in the architecture or your interest in capturing it on paper?

The interest in the architecture really. I was researching for a book I plan to write, set in the Hulme Crescents in Manchester and, having tidied my desk, washed the pots and cleared the ironing pile, I needed another way to distract myself from actually having to do any writing. I had come across a pastiche of the Architects Journal with the Crescents on the cover and that sparked the book covers that I do with my photographs and song lyrics. (examples are displayed on Eugene’s website – see end for details)

eugene brutalist teessideI knew you as a man of words. Have you always had an eye for illustration and aesthetics?

I’ve always been very interested but never produced any of my own. I always loved record sleeves. I loved bands and labels that had a definite aesthetic to them and which were immediately recognisable as by that band or on that label – The Smiths’ sleeves, Peter Saville’s artwork for Factory Records and the album sleeves put out by Blue Note Records. I think that’s where it started.

What attracted you to brutalism? It is architecture that divides opinion, that’s fair to say. But it has an increasing following again and appreciation. What is it all about?

Well again, it kind of goes back to music I think. The whole feel of the music made by Smiths and Joy Division and New Order – the environment in which they lived can be heard in their music (Interestingly, Johnny Marr is now a patron of the Manchester Modernist Society). I was always very interested in the 1960s – film, music, literature – I think that as I grew older that I started to appreciate the architecture too. For a long long time though I just accepted the received wisdom that concrete buildings were all ugly and a terrible mistake. If you look at a building like the Civic Centre in Newcastle though, it is a really beautiful building.

As eugene when routinefor the renewed interest in brutalist and modernist architecture, I think that’s a result of the buildings going up in our cities at the moment. Despite the economic situation, the buildings being built are really optimistic statements and this is probably the first time that has happened since the 1950s and 60s. The best of the modern buildings in cities like Manchester are breath-taking and we’ve got a bit of that here now with MIMA and the new TeessideUniversity building on Southfield Road. Although these buildings look very different from the buildings of the 50s and 60s, you can see the lineage and their influence. Going back to music, it’s like when a new band emerges that you love. They send you back to find their influences. I think that the better of the new buildings have done that. We have started to re-evaluate the old buildings. These were buildings built on ideals, not like the dreary cost effective homogenous buildings of the 1980s and 90s. Look at those buildings on the south bank of the Tees at Stockton. They are unbelievably dull. I also think that losing some of these buildings, like the Get Carter car park in Gateshead can make you think again.

eugene bus staHockney had a big exhibition recently based on observing the seasons in East Yorkshire. He was saying to people to look closer at their surroundings. Your work focuses on familiar buildings but all too often ones take for granted. Is that fair to say?

I suppose it is, with both my graphic work and my photography. The book covers I do often include images of urban decay. Not just from Teesside but from all over the north of England. I think most people don’t really notice these places but for me there’s a real beauty in decay. They aren’t meant to mock but to reflect the environment we live in. It’s no use pretending we live in Surrey because we don’t. Our environment makes us who we are as a people. My graphic work really aims to focus people on the buildings by isolating them from the clutter that surrounds them – to emphasise their use of line and form. Often if you walk past them this can be harder to spot because of other buildings which partially obscure them. There’s an artist from Sunderland, Jo Stanness, doing a similar thing with photographs and paint too. You should check her work out.

Your artwork really stands out it seems to have really hit the spot for many people – how do you react to the positive comments and buyers? Did you ever dream you would sell artwork in an art gallery? That is surely a triumph for localism?

It’s all very unexpected. I did genuinely start as a distraction from writing and then realised that I had finally found a way of doing something with my photographs. I have no background in this at all. I was pulled aside by my art teacher at school and asked not take GCSE art so to suddenly have work for sale in galleries is a weird and very flattering feeling.

What have you got your eye on next?

I have started doing graphic work of brutalist and modernist buildings beyond Teesside. I’ve also moved indoors – I’ve started a series of images of iconic mid-century modern furniture and I’m working on an idea to turn architects into celebrities – so album covers for imagined albums by Erno Goldfinger and turning Le Corbusier into a perfumier. I suppose I should get back to my book about Hulme Crescents too.

How can I buy your work?

You can either approach me with a brown paper bag filled with used notes or contact me at or through my website

Prints are on sale at mima and there are book covers available from The House of Blah Blah and work in Saltburn Framing Company gallery too.

eugene - north stand