Show: Beetham Tower. Alan Dalby.
Tell: “This piece is of Manchester’s Beetham Tower, otherwise known as the Hilton building, poking through the rain at night. Also above the rainclouds flies a house sparrow.
“I was asked to create an image for Manchester and Salford Illustrated, I thought about my experience of the two cities. Thinking back to the first time I came to live here, driving with my family over the Pennines, then through Salford and towards Manchester, the memory with most resonance is that first sight of the Beetham Tower, jutting out of the horizon line.
“Every time I leave the city, it is always the first thing to catch my eye as I return. It acts like a marker for the city, an iconic symbol for Manchester, which can be seen for miles around.
“I’ve lived here for a little over four years now, and almost every time I make that journey over the Pennines, it’s through intense rainfall, which usually doesn’t stop after entering the city. So I’ve come to associate Manchester with the rain, and this seems to be a common association, although I’m not really sure it rains more here than any other English city. I’m not complaining, anyway.
“After making the rainclouds and the tower, I still felt the image was lacking something, and I felt like adding a bird, so after doing a bit of research I discovered the House Sparrow is Greater Manchester’s most abundant bird and thought it fits quite well with the other elements.
“I really enjoyed creating the clouds for the picture. Usually I create my work out of quite simple shapes and I didn’t want the clouds to be different, but I still wanted them to feel quite natural. Oddly, I think the way I used circles to create the clouds was inspired by Artexing, not exactly the most natural thing but it helped to create something I’m quite happy with.
“In the past I have always tried to keep a limited colour palette with my work and very rarely would I ever use two or more shades of the same colour. It’s something that stems from my fascination with screen printing and other artists that use the process. However, with this image I wanted it to be quite moody and subtle. I used several different shades of teal to get that effect. This use of different shades, I believe, gives a greater depth to the work and it has influenced the work I have created since then.”
Info: Alan Dalby is a freelance illustrator who lives and works in Manchester, England.
Between 27th October – 10th November 2011, the very first Manchester and Salford Illustrated exhibition (#MASI) will be held at 52 Princess Street, Manchester. It will be a showcase of the very best commercial artists and illustrators in the area and has been created to raise funds and awareness for Manchester based charity, Wood Street Mission. Strictly limited edition prints and a range of other merchandise will be available for sale, both in person and online.
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