manchester and salford illustrated

Hail to the Bus Driver Boy

This illustration was my entry for the 2013 Manchester & Salford Illustrated exhibition, which is held every few years as a charity event to raise money for the Wood Street Mission. The brief was simply ‘Everyday Manchester & Salford’, and although this hadn’t been my initial idea it is what I ultimately chose to go for.

This was my rationale to accompany the piece:

In recent years, my local bus route has seen a welcome return of the double-decker. I often like to sit upstairs for the extended view: faint mountains in the distance, and the ability to peer over brick walls that hide derelict train stops and the River Irwell.

One afternoon when the bus pulled into Salford Precinct, I heard a woman call to a child who was already half-way up the stairs – “Do you want to go upstairs and drive the bus?”. This reminded me of my own bus driving days as a kid in the 1980s, riding orange gas guzzlers into Victoria bus station (now Greengate Square).

Did you ever drive the bus?

Having lived in Salford since birth I, unlike some of the other submitting artists, have had the privilege of seeing the city change over the years. The eagle-eyed local may notice various subtleties such as the proximity of the shouting fussilier statue to the road, and the old Manchester United bobby hat.

Those local artists working out of Salford’s iconic Islington Mill studios should also recognise this scene, as it is a view they see when making their way to the main road.

However, my piece was ultimately not chosen as one of those for inclusion in the exhibition. And this devastated me. Not so much because of the illustration itself, or the pride of being included in such a show. But as a Salfordian.

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Manchester & Salford Illustrated Competition. (MASI)

Early development work & research for this competition. 

Focusing on using a collage for this as it enables me to break away from staring into a screen and gets me back to what I love doing and that is actually making stuff. Generally this means wading through my ever expanding box of cast off paper. Old envelopes, bits of interesting things I see in newspapers and magazines. Any kind of interesting surface really can find its way into these boxes.

I’ve been also looking through the large archives of old photographs that Salford University has. Fascinating to see how the university looked and how it’s changed. This resonated with me, especially as we are due to leave Allerton studios-think I’ll blog some more about these images later.

(Images 1-6), So I’ve printed out the same image on bits of discarded papers and card. Some of the surfaces I’ve painted first, when I print over the top of it the results are unpredictable, which adds to the cut out and paste it aesthetic I’m looking for. I’m going to continue with these collage experiments, hopefully having something worthwhile for inclusion in the competition.

Anyway I like the old close up photos labelled as ‘Royal Technical College School Of Art. 1930.’ seems to be a series of them, some showing hands stitching or embroidering, another shows hands airbrushing. I like the composition of these and will use them as the subject of a collage for the M.A.S.I competition.