As 2017 draws steadily closer a growing number of artists and illustrators have chosen to celebrate the city’s status as City of Culture by immortalising Hull’s most iconic buildings, it’s people and it’s culture in ink and paint. As an increasing collection of images of Hull begin to appear in galleries, cafes and venues across the city I took a little time out this week to speak to artist Simon Wells, who’s work depicts many of the city’s most recognisable, and in some cases lost, buildings.
Simon, who spent most of the last twenty years working as an English and Drama teacher hails from Anlaby Common. Now working full time as an artist, he appreciates the way that Hull has always embraced creativity in all of its forms, from art to theatre to music. While he has now found a firm footing as an artist it was Hull’s music scene that provided Simon’s creative outlet in the late 80’s and early 90’s as a vocalist in may Hull based bands. This experience, living and breathing Hull culture has no doubt played a part in influencing his current work as he immortalises venues such as Bob Carvers Fish and Chip Shop, Boothferry Park and ABC Cinema.
Simon Wells’ bold, expressionist paintings show definite influences of David Hockney, in particular in the way he uses colour and simplified lines to create images that speak to the viewer. It is this accessibility that has seen Simon’s work grow in popularity in recent years as people look for images that spark memories of days gone by in Hull. For many the vibrancy of his work reflects exactly how they remember buildings that played a huge part in their younger lives, such as the long gone, but certainly not forgotten, Sydney Scarborough Records.
Simon’s paintings of Hull mark an important point in the city’s ongoing development and are indicative of his other work in that they are unashamedly on topic. Other work by the artist has included a piece created from audio cassette tape to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the cassette tape and a piece using expired vehicle tax disks, to mark their demise.
As people across the city begin to embrace the ongoing developments in the lead up to 2017 an increasing number are looking to own their own pieces of original art depicting Hull. For many the iconic buildings and the distinctive K6 telephone box that Simon uses in several of his pieces have a special meaning. They are as much a part of Hull culture as chip spice, the Adelphi and The Spiders from Mars.
View more of Simon’s work at www.simonwells.com