Artist Paul draws on memories of Wigan

Some of the borough's everyday working class moments could win a prestigious art prize after being captured, in pencil form by a Wigan-born artist.

Wednesday, 6th June 2018, 10:05 am
Updated Wednesday, 6th June 2018, 11:12 am
Artist Paul Crook

Paul Crook’s Lost Wigan sketches have been nominated for the Derwent Art Prize, an internationally renowned fine art award, which takes place in London in September.

The 54-year-old’s drawings depict a diving board at the old Wigan swimming baths and a butchers stall at the old Wigan market hall.

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The diving board at Wigan baths, drawn by artist Paul Crook

The sketches, Paul says, take inspiration from his daily activities while growing up in the town as a youngster.

“You’re always influenced by where you grow up. A lot of artists are like that, and Wigan comes up quite a bit in my work,” said Paul, who is originally from Kitt Green but now works as an art tutor in Leamington Spa.

He said: “I’ve done a lot of paintings of Wigan and its 1960s modernism, which has now almost all disappeared. They were part of my growing up, and were about a promising future.

“I drew them because my dad was actually a butcher in the market hall back then. As a kid, I used to go to the pool for the day every now and then, so it’s sort of based on memories that everyone can identify with.

A butcher's stall in the old Wigan market hall

“They’re not really nostalgic, I just find them interesting. I find the shapes intriguing because you don’t find them in new buildings.”

Paul hopes the drawings will trigger a sense of recognition of the old landmarks and bring attention to elements of the architecture that people might not have otherwise noticed, through combining different shapes and shades.

“A set of escalators might be a dull subject, but I make them dramatic with colours. So something ordinary becomes more fascinating,” he said.

Paul has previously given the colourful touch to other less-than-glamorous landmarks such as Scholes flats, which were given a pink makeover in 2011. The Pink Flats painting was so well received that he won a £1,000 prise in the prestigious Open Exhibition at Leamington Spa Art Gallery.

His Lost Wigan artwork will be on display at the prestigious Mall Galleries in central London from September 18 to 23.

The exhibition will then tour to a number of venues.