Wigan crime writer’s novel to inspire new work of art from Birmingham

Every picture tells a story! And in the case of a unique art competition, the “picture” in question will tell the story of the latest crime novel by Wigan author Paul Finch.
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Westside Business Improvement District (BID) in Birmingham has enrolled the services of Birmingham Art Zone, a community group made up of local amateur artists, for an exciting "paint-off”.

In a combination of their creative talents, three members of the group are to paint their interpretations of the Standish writer’s latest thriller entitled Never Seen Again.

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Artists Paula Gabb, Helen Roberts and Helen Owen are now working furiously on their picture ideas, with the winning painting to be judged by Mr Finch at the Velvet Music Rooms in Broad Street, Birmingham some time in November.

Paul Finch with his latest book, Never Seen AgainPaul Finch with his latest book, Never Seen Again
Paul Finch with his latest book, Never Seen Again
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The successful artist will receive a prize of £500, with £250 each to the two runners-up, while Mr Finch gets to keep the winning painting.

The competition idea followed Mr Finch taking part in a Meet the Author event in July, hosted by Lorraine Olley, wife of BID general manager Mike Olley, as part of the Birmingham, Sandwell & Westside Jazz Festival.

Former police officer and journalist Mr Finch said: “I happened to mention that my wife Cathy and I are fine art collectors, although strictly amateur.

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"Mike showed me the painting of the Black Sabbath Bridge, which really impressed me, and I said it had long been my ambition to commission artists to paint interpretations of my books.

“So, Mike mentioned this Birmingham art group and suggested having a contest.

"I’m not looking for alternative book covers, or film-style advertising posters, I would just love someone to do an interpretation of one of my books.

“It is two forms of artistic expression coming together.

"There is no input from me, other than they have to read the book.

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"I just love the idea of an artist reading my book and then creating a painting, condensing 130,000 words into one canvas."

Mr Finch added: "The competition is a wonderful idea and it would be glorious to have the original winning painting.”

Never Seen Again, published by Orion, tells a story of redemption about a former top crime reporter who messes up a police operation with fateful consequences.

Mike Olley said: “In recent months the BID has become involved in getting to know a group of amateur artists known as Birmingham Art Zone.

“Following a chance conversation with Paul, it seemed the perfect opportunity to create this unique collaboration between art and the written word. We wish the artists the best of luck in producing a painting based on Paul’s latest novel.”

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