Thursday, 15 October 2015

Bearwood Art with History Exhibition Retrospective 14/10/15

Hello all you might remember early last month I was advertising a local art show I was curating called Bearwood Art with History. Well it ended last Saturday and now its time to do a retrospective of the whole event. 

Bearwood Art with History : Introduction

The initial idea started from a submission I made to a Illustrated Birmingham art contest in early 2014. the goal was simple to advertise the city as a potential tourist  destination. my illustration was an arch shape juxtaposed by  buildings, people, businesses and culture related to the city I even tried to make reference to more obscure things to attract a bigger audience .

I entered this Illustration in to The RBSA open show and Did it again this year but with an illustration about the Jewellery Quarter using the same reparations as the Birmingham poster. Around this time I had discovered about the Ooops gallery and had an idea of creating a Bearwood poster in the same style as the pervious posters. However to make this one more special I wanted to 
include more about Bearwoods History. So I got in touch with Local Historian Mary Bodfish who has a huge collection of archive photos and documents on Bearwood’s early days seeing all this made me realise that using all the 
material on the poster would be a waste So my idea changed to creating a collection of art that talks about Bearwoods past while high lighting the many landmarks around the town that make it a unique place then and now. 

Below are scans and photos of the work and exhibition space. 

A2 town posters 

I had a collection of 3 framed illustrations that juxtaposed the different elements of the designated area. Famous/local people, Landmarks, Businesses even small objects that give the neighbourhood more character and uniqueness everything was covered. 

The top one was the bulk of the show: 

the Bearwood Poster. green pro marker and uni pin pens

To make it easier for visitors to understand who was on the posters I created a small guide next to the original So they could discover interesting things about the town and its community with out getting lost. 
Jewellery Quarter poster 

This is a famous district in Birmingham UK known for its huge jewellery industry and school.

The History Illustrations

These were the meat of the whole show, the descriptions were written by local historian Mary Bodfish. Each image has references to animation and links back to the description in a clever way. 

Grey pro markers and uni pin pens

The origins of the Beakes were in a moated farmstead, with a large house of the same name being built nearby circa 1690.  The house’s entire contents, down to the mattresses off the beds and the last teaspoon, were put up for auction in 1825 when the occupant, banker William Smith, went bankrupt.  It was later the home of a succession of ironmasters  before being demolished in 1899.

Grey pro markers and uni pin pens

Bearwood Road Schools opened in 1882 and originally had a tall tower which was damaged in the war when a bomb fell on shops opposite.  It also housed the Bearwood Institute for adults in the 1880s, with magic lantern shows, musical evenings and lectures on popular science.   Services for Baptists were also held there until they opened their own church nearby in 1903; although only a small section was actually built of the very grandiose structure that the architect envisaged for them

Grey pro markers and uni pin pens

The origins of a watermill on the Thimblemill brook to grind grain probably go back to the Middle Ages when Smethwick belonged to Halesowen Abbey.  Its name comes from the small copper spirit measures shaped like a sewing thimble made using the water power In the 18th century.  The  last mill was demolished in 1901;  and before they vanished in the late 1920s, the paths across the fields by the Thimblemill Brook were a favourite country stroll for Bearwood inhabitants.

Grey pro markers and uni pin pens

Opened in 1930 as a “super picture and variety theatre” and replaced the nearby Coliseum.  During the Second World War a short-wave radio receiving station was installed in the roof  and all data received there from German signals was reported to the code-breaking centre at Bletchley Park.  The 1950s saw performances by popular singers as well a repertory company; later for 10 years it was a skating rink before a brief spell as a night club before becoming the Sandwell Snooker Centre in 1982.


The third big part of my exhibition was a series of 8 colourful postcards that featured local buildings with cute cartoon bears to emphasise the significance of each landmark. 

samples of the 8 designs I made.

My sister Faith was a big help in promoting the exhibition on social media and giving me ideas of what I could sell, Thanks Sis :)

A couple other things I was selling were Tea Towels based on the Bearwood poster (which have been very popular with the local community). A2 prints of my older artwork, canvas bags and small coloured promarker canvases of various areas in Bearwood.

On the opening day it was really packed and I was in my element with visitors. 

I hope you enjoyed taking a look at how the art show went and I want to  
 Thank all who came and supported the exhibition especially Ooops gallery ,Mary Bodfish Jonny Mellor and my Sister Faith Whitehouse for making this all possible , I hope I can do a show like this again soon.

I already have plans for other local areas I would love to illustrate next year. 

Until next post LATERS ;)