“All the things that I grew up with are disappearing and I wanted to capture the way it was…”

Philip Meadows is a local Teesside artist based in Middlesbrough who focuses his painting on his childhood memories growing up in Middlesbrough in the 1960s. Chloe Tempestoso caught up with Philip to find out more behind his Teesside themed art and the story behind his painting.

What’s the story behind your artwork?
My artwork is a personal nostalgia fest. I became aware that all the things that I grew up with are disappearing and I wanted to capture the way it was. I followed my dad into the gates of ICI on the first day of my apprenticeship and it was like entering a new world of sights, sounds and smells. When I look down from the Nab, the factories I worked in are gone. I focus on the characters, the guys who took pigeons on baskets to release at the gate. I focus a lot on Ayresome Park. I used to go with my big brother. It had such character. What I paint is the characters, the ground, the streets outside and the dads and lads going to the match. A football team used to be the heart of the community. When I went for a haircut, the barber would always start with how you think they’ll get on this Saturday.

How is your Teesside themed artwork received by people in Teesside?
People have really connected with my artwork. They think it represents their childhood and the town which is fantastic, if you can make an image from your head and people identify with it. If people then want to buy your work I think that is the highest compliment that can be paid.

What’s your advice to anyone in Teesside who wants a career in art?
I am always keen to help people get into art. My advice is to do what interests you. People are often put off because they draw something and then they are conscious of criticism but the best art is the art that is a personal view of the artist who portrays what they want to say in their own unique way. Think of the work of 20th century artists in galleries… it’s not photo realism, it’s the person’s view in the same way a poet puts their feelings into words. Picasso once said as a child he could draw like Raphael but it took him a lifetime to draw with the clarity of a child.

For more information on Philip Meadows artwork please visit: https://www.philipmeadows.art/ayresome-park

Interview by Chloe Tempestoso