The Bluecoat railing painters..
Can anyone tell me what happened to the painters who used to exhibit on the Bluecoat railings every Saturday?
I understood that they were shifted off when the place was 'restored' and can imagine that they would then have been considered to 'bring down the tone' of the posh, new-look Bluecoat (which I hate, especially what they did to the garden)- but I wondered if they were offered a new home elsewhere?
I must here admit to having been one of them for a number of years- albeit a photographer rather than a painter. My pitch was on the far left as you look at the building, next to the handbag shop as was. Tony Flanagan, the painter who exhibited there- and made a decent living at it- for many years, generously budged up and gave me a bit of his space. Rob Ball was another kind soul who showed there too, and who got me started when I was skint by sorting me out with a load of frames. That's him in the picture below, taken in 1984, with his smelly old dog, Tramp. They were all great people.
There was little love lost between the artists inside the Bluecoat and those outside but we were at least left in peace and never had to pay for our specks. It was a great apprenticeship for me, new to photography and new to public exhibition as I was. It was often bloody freezing down there- School Lane is a proper wind tunnel- but I had a great time and even made a few bob now and then too...
I went for a mooch around there recently, when I was last in town, and was gratified to see that, despite all the vast changes to the Bluecoat, the metal eye bolt I drove into the wall next to the old bag shop's window sill to tie a rope to to stop my board from getting blown away is still there! I was quite moved to see it..
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The last time I seen them, one of them had a great painting of Liverpool Skyline. I never had enough money on me so, I thought I'll buy it next week. Never seen them again. Where do they go now.
Hi knowhowe, thanks for posting.
I remember these well. Usually always paintings of local liverpool scenes, some rural stuff, and I think the footy clubs. And very textured oils..."excuse me there luv, you've got enough paint on that to do at least another four".
Bring em back I say!
Yes, their work could be garish and was certainly not to everyone's taste- the 'inside' versus 'outside' the Bluecoat syndrome..
But they certainly had many fans. Tony Flan, for example. People would bring him colour samples from their newly-redecorated bedrooms and he'd knock them out a masterpiece that would blend in just right. They loved it. He was a fine technical painter who knew his market and stayed faithful to it. And a lovely bloke to boot. I miss him.
I remember we turned up one Saturday morning to find that the Brookside production crew had blocked off the railings without a by your leave because they wanted to film a scene there. It pretty quickly became unblocked I can tell you..
Don't hold me to this but...I believe it had something to do with the new street trading laws when they were revamped by the council ie the street traders were up in arms over it.
Anyway I'd have thought if you email the bluecoat chambers for any info on the artist trading locally on the streets,they'd be able to shed some light on this?
I'm sure they used to have their pitchs on the steps of the old church at the top of bold street when they got moved?
By Colin Wilkinson in forum Colin Wilkinson's Streets of Liverpool
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