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Joe Scarborough exhibition: Sheffield treasure on show at Weston Park

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'Street Fight' by Joe Scarborough.


The colourful scenes of Sheffield artist Joe Scarborough are to be exhibited in a new show at Weston Park Museum.

Life in the Big Village opens on 17 August and runs until 24 November. Entry is free.

"From the start of my career my paintings have been inspired by Sheffield and the people who live here," says Scarborough.

People love reading paintings and you'll find in my work a lot of letters.

"I've always seen the city as my native village - from the local pubs and parks to places where people work and live."

Scarborough was born in Pitsmoor in 1938 and now lives on a narrowboat in Victoria Quays. He started painting after working as a coal labourer at Thorpe Hesley Colliery for six years.

The artist says that it was the "light and colour of the world above" that inspired him to pick up a brush. Scarborough's work often depicts working people and their communities in South Yorkshire.

"Obviously you take lessons from your father, who was a very, very strong socialist, so you bring those ideologies to the work," said Scarborough in May, when he was the featured artist in Now Then.

Weston Park Museum is already the home of Scarborough's biggest painting, 'Sheffield Through the Ages'. The 30-foot canvas shows both football stadiums, snooker in the Crucible and the Madina Mosque in Heeley.

Recognisable buildings and signs are an important element of the artist's highly-stylised paintings.

"I discovered Norman Wilkinson, who's the greatest maritime painter of posters in the world," Scarborough told Now Then when asked about his influences.

"Slowly but surely, I was thinking, 'I could do a sky like his', and then, 'I could do figures like his'. Living in Pitsmoor, you can forget the street names - if you went past a poster, you knew you'd only two corners to go round and you were home.

"You know, 'Bovril Prevents That Sinking Feeling', and all that," he continued. "People love reading paintings and you'll find in my work a lot of letters."

Scarborough held his first one-man show in 1973 and in 2008 was awarded a star on the 'Walk of Fame' outside Sheffield Town Hall.

Sam Gregory

Life in the Big Village is open from 17 August to 24 November. Joe gives a free talk about his work on 27 August.

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'Union Hotel' by Joe Scarborough.

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