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Curtain up on a Grand show of quirky art

Grand Theatre Artwork

This autumn, the Grand Theatre’s Stage Door Cafe Bar is being artfully transformed into a gallery, showcasing the work of an acclaimed local artist.

Until Sunday, November 8, the vibrant works of art by Fylde-based and nationally and internationally exhibited artist, Alistair J. Parker will adorn the walls. Alistair’s work is described as “modern art an archaic twist”. Fusing photographic, digital, and experimental mixed media techniques, his unique method produces an unconventional, even eccentric, style. The pictures currently on display at The Grand’s free exhibition depict scenes of some of Blackpool’s most treasured landmarks, including the theatre  itself, and depict the town with a blend of fun, faded grandeur and nostalgia.

Artist Alistair has had a varied career history. Leaving school at 16, he started work as a lab technician at Liverpool University Veterinary School, later becoming Head of Poulton-le-Fylde laboratories in 1971. In 1974 he started his own lab business, but after selling up and retiring in 2004, Alistair decided to return to education to study art. In the past eight years, Alistair has achieved a BA in Fine Art from Blackpool and the Fylde College, an MA in Contemporary Art Research, and is currently researching for his PhD in Art Practice at Lancaster University.

In addition to Blackpool, Alistair’s works are currently on display in Liverpool, Putney and London, and he is also regularly represented at Affordable Art Fairs in London, Brussels, New York and Hong Kong. In a high point in his artistic career earlier this year, Alistair was commissioned by Chang Beer to turn 5000 beer bottle tops into a piece of art to commemorate the brewing company’s 10 years of shirt sponsorship at Everton Football Club.

Alistair’s distinctive style, captured in the works currently on display at the Grand Theatre, was developed while studying at Blackpool and the Fylde College. His works are created from digital photographs, which he manipulates using Photoshop, and subsequently collages, blends and modifies. The final image is enlarged and cut into tiles using special software before bring printed and varnished, giving his works a photographic touch with a difference. His signature distressed style gives the effect of a worn-out, scratched and folded photograph in bright, high-contrast tones, nostalgically echoing Blackpool’s vibrant past.

Alistair J. Parker, Stage Door Café, Grand Theatre, Blackpool, runs until November 8, 2015, It can be viewed during opening hours. Admission is free.

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