Stiff Little Fingers? Now that's a name to conjure with, but check out their version of Bob and Rita Marley's Johnny Was. Played it before and reminded me of why I first loved punk all those years ago. Anyhow, just to remind y'all that I'm at Urmston market this Saturday and Knutsford Market on Sunday, where I'll have my newbies of Monton, Manc-hattan and Stockport Alphabet. See you there, hopefully.
Christmas starts tomorrow (well it does for me) with the Great Northern Warehouse market just off Deansgate in Manchester. I’ll be there on Friday as well, then on Saturday and Sunday it’s off to Altrincham Market. I’ll have all my usual mounts, cards and magnets, plus my new Marple picture, along with a few blue versions of the ‘barth’ poster. See you there. www.statementartworks.comRead More
Local art for local people! Who needs fancy dan customers from the Cayman Islands when you can sell to lovely people on your doorstep? This week I supplied three framed A2 posters to Hatters Promotions who have just moved into new premises off Hillgate in Stockport, about half a mile from where I live. They now hang in the firm’s reception area. Hatters Promotions provide promotional merchandise for companies, from pens and mugs to hampers and bandanas (www.hatterspromotions.com). Two of my posters - London and Hats Off To Stockport - are pictured here along with the Teddy, who belongs to Jo Shippen, the boss of the company! Also, I’ve just finished my Rochdale poster, which, naturally, has to feature the town’s most famous export - the Co-operative movement! Those handsome people in the poster are my friends and neighbours, the Cook family!Read More
Although I'd driven through it a thousand times on the way to the amazing Vernon and Woodbank parks, I'd never noticed the old Battersby hat factory in Offerton, Stockport, just along from the Finger Post pub. It's got that striking water tower - but more importantly the giant letter B on two sides. What a godsend for an idea for a poster, which I think has a definite world war 2 look about it. While the tower was the inspiration, I have to thank the lovely Imogen Francesca Hart, one of my fellow traders, who was the model for the poster. Chorlton-based Imogen is the boss of The Sardinistas, which specialises in Portuguese products, especially those fabulous tinned sardines. The first prints of the Offerton poster will be produced next week, but I am also doing a limited edition of 20 specially marked A2 posters, which I am selling ready framed for £150. www.statementartworks.comRead More
Put your loved one's name in
the Manchester hall of fame!
I started doing them as presents for friends, but now they are taking off with the public - my bespoke Manchester Alphabet posters. So in this example, I've changed the original P is for....to P is for Phil Jones, who is my mate over the road. I've added some other details and used his name in the headline too. All I charge for the work is an extra tenner on top of the framed and poster prices. Just contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org if you fancy having one done for you, a friend or relative. And if you live in Sale, check out my Sale poster on www.statementartworks.com - the strap line at the bottom could easily carry your name or street or both!
The Mancunian way is not to be confused with the Mancunian Way. The former - the mindset and spirit of the city's people - is very special indeed. However, the road of that name, with a capital W, is about as horrible as it gets. Has anyone ever travelled on it and not be gripped by terror at where to come off and what lane to use, or indeed where the bloody hell they are? My Gran used to have a flat right next to it in All Saints, and she'd say, " Eric, i love it here, because the lights at night are fabulous, what with all the different colours and the speed. Champion." She said champion - a sadly dying northernism - quite a lot, but on the subject of the Mancunian Way I had to disagree with her. Not champion, Gran! So you're not likely to see a smiling couple on a Vespa any time soon on the Mancunian Way, buy hey, I love Vespas, and I quite like couples who smile while motorbiking (see the film Priceless), and I love Manchester, in spite of the Mancunian Way! Great Ancoats Street - now there's a road - and being transformed into something amazing. Go to the Port Street Beer House, and then go for a wander. My Gran and I did that years ago when it was the heart of the textile industry, and it still sends a tingle down my spine.
Most of my posters and associated products are usually bought by individiuals, but occasionally i get orders from firms in the region.
Recently it was my pleasure to supply a number of framed posters to Niche Consulting in Eccles, a company that specialises in health and social care work.
I dealt with one of the partners, Kate Jury, who had previously bought some smaller works off me at the Treacle Market in Macclesfield.
When I called at the offices, I found Kate and the rest of the firm really welcoming and enthusiastic about my posters.
Says Kate: "We were in the process of trying to give our office a new 'identity' and found Eric's artwork by chance. We knew instantly that his work would be perfect for us and we love the way that he pokes (always kind) fun at suburban characteristics in and around Manchester and the North.
"The really difficult thing was trying to choose which pictures to buy as we could have bought the entire back catalogue! In the end it came down to a vote and purchased 8 large ones and 3 small ones - we are delighted with how they look.
"Eric also provides superb customer service and, if you get chance to have a cuppa with him, he is a fantastically interesting fellow with some great insights and stories".
The feeling was entirely mutual. Such a fabulous bunch of people!
Whalley Range. Just the name sounds Wild West. Well, it was wild once, in the sense that drugs and prostitution were its main industries. But now the 'prozzies' have been replaced, slowly, by professionals, and it's becoming so gentrified that the term 'ChoBo' has been coined, by estate agents, to indicate it's the 'Chorlton borders.' Sick, obviously, but let's not forget the fact that Whalley Range possesses some of the finest buildings and streets in the whole of Manchester. It's real, old Manchester. Gritty and gorgeous in equal amounts, rich and poor, trendy and trackies cheek by jowl. And to cap it all there's the Carlton Club, as old school as you can get, but more wonderful and special than any arsey posers' club in the city centre. You'd have to be a real wally not to love Whalley Range. Love goes out to Laurence Hopkins, a mate and one-time resident of the Range, who helped me with the research. www.statementartworks.com
No, it's not polluted - it's the iron oxide, or something like that, that seeps into the water, which gives the Bridgewater Canal in Worsley its distinctive orange colour, an almost identical hue to that of tomato soup, in fact (many thanks to my old mate Simon Donohue for coming up with that comparison). And that, along with the classy Arts and Crafts homes and buildings, makes Worsley one of the most sought-after districts north of the Irwell. The jewel in Salford's crown. Deliciously rich! So cool is it, in fact, that it was recently featured in the The Great British Interior Design Challenge. Now that's trendy. This poster, by Eric Jackson, is available from A4 size all the way up to A1, through statementartworks.com and at the usual markets and selected shops/galleries.
You don't have to be a rabid Blue to see that Pep Guardiola is just the tonic the Premiership needed, offering a brand of football that is off the scale wonderful. Of course this poster may come back to bite me on the bum if it all goes disastrously wrong this year, but if City do fail it won't be through a lack of adventure, style or class. And sorry to all my United mates (to whom I am a curious aberration), but it's only a gentle joke at your expense, and you might just have the last laugh.
The poster is available to buy at www.statementartworks.com
Manchester's 10 Commandments
Here is the updated edition of my Manchester's 10 Commandments poster, with Alan Turing replacing Ian Curtis as the cover star. This is to celebrate the Royal Exchange Theatre, in October, putting on Breaking the Code, the play about the troubled computer genius and war hero who was shamefully hounded to his death by the establishment because of his homosexuality. The computer pioneer, who helped decipher German messages in the Second World War, worked at Manchester University and remains one of the city's greatest ever figures. Without him, the Allies may very well have lost the war, while the development of computer technology would arguably have been delayed by years if not decades.
Bramhall, which is actually in Stockport but feels more like hard-core Cheshire and has a fabulous Tudor Hall to prove it, now has more gastro bars than you can shake a feta and olive brioche at. Good thing, bad thing? Who am I to judge? But I would add that the Mounting Stone is the best addition to the high street in 20 years, maybe more. This poster, which you can ponder as we go through the Brexit divorce and beyond, is available through www.statementartworks.com
The Cheshire village of Lymm, hogging the scenic limelight between Warrington and Altrincham, has a lot to offer. It has a dam (a catch-all title that includes a tiny weir and largish lake), a quaint village centre complete with stocks, the curvaceous Bridgewater Canal, and more chi-chi shops and eateries than you can shake a baguette at. It even has something called the Bongs, like something from Lord of the Rings. Then there are all the ducks - the real ones around the lake and canal - and the plastic ones that compete in the annual duck race. All very hunky-dory, except that all those attractions come with a price - the crowds that flock there every weekend, clogging up the paths, roads, car parks...in fact everywhere. Oh the perils of being pretty...
Poster available from statementartworks.com
The folly of White Nancy stands sentinel over the Cheshire town of Bollington in the foothills of the Pennines and on the edge of the Peak District National Park. From White Nancy you can see across the Cheshire Plain, with Manchester in one direction and Jodrell Bank and the Welsh mountains in the other. Cheshire's Chamonix then? Well the people have a kind of mountain man sensibility, judging by the amount of Gortex and Nordic walking poles on show. It's a lovely place, though, albeit mostly strung along one winding road, so it's hard to pinpoint a centre. The cricket ground is amazing, as are some of the pubs and parks, and to top it all there's a micro-brewery. So when you finish any of the many walks on offer, there's always a great pub and a pint to look forward to. The very big one downside for me - no railway station. But that's not Bollington's fault, just that cretin Beeching who closed half the stations in the sixties. The poster is available at markets and online at www.statementartworks.com
Ian Curtis, the late singer of Joy Division, may have been born and raised in Macclesfield, but he's still the cover star of my new Manchester's 10 Commandments poster.
Why? Because Curtis, along with the other band members who went on to form New Order after the singer's death, came to symbolise the renaissance and spirit of the new Manchester. The band and its label, Factory, spawned the Hacienda, which became the coolest club in the world and made Manchester one of the coolest cities in the world.
In my mind it still is - I still marvel at the architecture and luxuriate in the special attitude of the city's people - and my 10 Commandments hopefully reflects that love, albeit with a healthy dose of humour so we don't get too saccharine about this.
Below are the words, but they work best with the image. The whole package is now available on my website, www.statementartworks.com, and at markets around the regions, including Knutsford, Altrincham, Wilmslow, Northern Quarter, West Didsbury and Macclesfield.
MANCHESTER 10 COMMANDMENTS
Thou shalt have no rock gods before Ian Curtis and the rest of Joy Division/New Order, Morrissey and Marr, John Squire, Guy Garvey and Noel Gallagher. Anyone found worshipping Chris Martin from Coldplay should be taken to a doctor straightaway.
Thou shalt not make false idols out of anyone who has played football for Liverpool, Chelsea or Leeds United (with the exception of Eric Cantona), or any of the local wannabes who have sung in a boyband.
Thou shalt not take the names of Maxine Peake, Christopher Eccleston, Steve Coogan, Tony Wilson, Alan Turing, Emily Pankhurst or Anthony Burgess in vain.
Remember the last day of the football season, when either United or City or both will have some new silverware in the trophy cabinet.
Honour thy father and thy mother, especially if they have taken you into Piccadilly Records from an early age, introduced you to any of the beers from the Marble brewery or bought you tapas at El Rincon de Rafa.
Thou shalt not play Meat is Murder by the Smiths too often, as good though he is, Morrissey can be a bit of a veggie bore at times. And anyway, Strangeways Here We Come is better.
Thou shalt not commit the adulteration of any of the beers in the Castle, Britons Protection, Peveril of the Peak or City Arms pubs.
Thou shalt not steal any of the clothes or goods from Afflecks Palace as it works on very tight profit margins and if it goes all we will be left with is high street chains.
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. OK, go on then if they are on a two-year secondment from Cambridge with Astra Zenica and the only places they ever go to are Wilmslow and Prestbury.
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, especially if she prefers the Trafford Centre to Manchester for shopping or ‘just doesn’t get’ Alan Partridge; or thy neighbour’s house, if it’s packed with pretentious artefacts picked up in Peru or Myanmar (what’s wrong with Debenhams on Market Street?); or thy neighbour’s ox (and the bloody chickens and guinea pigs too).
When I was editing the arts or sports pages of newspapers and magazines, I thought working life couldn't get more interesting, but becoming a full-time artist seems to be trumping that.
Sunday saw me back at Knutsford market following the festive break. It's always a joy to be at - especially when the sun shines - and I had a great day, which included selling some of my work to one of my heroes, presenter and DJ Mark Radcliffe.
Then on Monday I set up a small exhibition of my posters at the fabulous Bistro West 156 restaurant on Burton Road. There is a mixture of A2 and A4 framed posters for sale, including, of course, the 'media whore' Didsbury picture, and my latest poster, Urmston, which has already sold well at markets and received lots of internet orders.
Bistro West 156 is a great little place and is right at the epicentre of the hip Burton Road district. Hopefully the diners won't choke on some of my 'acerbic' observations of north west towns and villages.
On Tuesday I staged my first art sale - at leading Manchester law firm DWF. I was invited to do it by one of the firm's founders. Jim Davies OBE, who bought my Liverpool poster at the Christmas Makers Market in Spinningfields.
After a slow start - the lawyers seemed bemused that art, rather than the usual books, were being sold adjacent to the company's restaurant - the trade picked up and at the end I did as well as I do at a reasonably good market.
Now that I am no longer a corporate events virgin, I will be looking to do a lot more in the future.
Anyone who has ever driven through Poynton in Cheshire will relate to this picture. The landscaping may be pretty, but the chaos and confusion caused by the 'shared space' roundabouts are ugly. Still, the village managed to get a posh Waitrose out of the arrangement, and on the road to Macclesfield there's now a massive Aldi, meaning more traffic and more chaos. Oh well, that's progress! The A4 poster in framed and mounted formats will be available at the Treacle Market in Macclesfield from this Sunday (Jan 31). You can also buy it online at www.statementartworks.comRead More
Fancy a bit of special stuff? Are you local and fancy a bit of local art? Good, so say goodbye to images of remote places such as Ponte dei Sospiri in Venice, Machu Picchu in Peru or especially cliched skyscrapers in New York - about as relevant to most people as Nigella's avocado on toast topped with pomegranate jus - and say hello to places and sentiments you can relate to.
That's what Statement Artworks is all about, and which is why, for our new banner, we've happily taken inspiration from the League of Gentlemen. It's about putting the fun back into art, which can so easily be po-faced, boring and up its own paint pot.
We were hoping to unveil the banner for the first time this weekend at the Cheadle Makers Market on Saturday and the Northern Quarter Makers Market in Manchester on Sunday, but we've been told it's going to be Monday before we can get our hands on it.
Both are new venues for us - we've only been doing this trader malarkey for a month - and really excited about them.
I grew up in Cheadle, so know the feel of the village, while the Northern Quarter is home to my two favourite pubs - the Castle on Oldham Street, and the Marble on Thomas Street.
It would be great if you could join us. We now have mugs for sale along with framed prints, posters, fridge magnets, greetings cards and keyrings. You can also order lots of lovely stuff online.
Wigan hasn't just got pies - as folklore would have it - but also plenty of balls...rugby balls, footballs (the town can accommodate clubs of both codes) and Uncle Joe's Mint Balls. Of course it was also the epicentre of Northern Soul and its 'pier' inspired the author George Orwell. For this poster I've borrowed the imagery of Soviet era propaganda, in keeping with the red of the Mint Balls logo. Come the glorious revolution, it will be free Mint Balls all-round. Or perhaps not!
This poster is available to buy, unframed, from Statement Artworks (www.statementartworks.com) or framed at selected galleries and markets around the north west.Read More
One of my favourite walks in the whole of the North West of England is up and around Rivington Pike, close to Bolton.
The beauty spot, with its distinctive folly and stepped path, has been a popular day out for Boltonians and other Lancastrians for over a hundred years - a welcome respite from the work in the mills and mines of the Industrial Revolution. The views stretch across the Lancashire plain below, all the way to the coast and Blackpool Tower.
But beware, the bogs, linked by countless streams and springs, on the plateau at the top can catch the unwary by surprise. Of course the people of Bolton don't really look down on the rest of Lancashire, not in a snobby way, at least - just physically.
This is my latest Statement Artworks poster and is available in A1 and A2 sizes from www.statementartworks.comRead More