A Sheffield graphic designer has created a range of images celebrating the city and its most iconic landmarks. Colin Drury met him...
They are iconic Sheffield scenes - as you’ve never seen them before.
Back in 2011, after deciding his living room wall needed brightening, graphic designer Alan Pennington painted a picture of the Hallam University hubs.
“I love how they look,” says the 29-year-old of Bowness Road, Walkley. “Plus I’m a huge music fan so I always liked that building when it was the National Centre for Popular Music.”
And that would have been that. Except every time friends came round they told him how much they loved the picture. Some eventually asked him to do them one.
Today, three years on, he has created a whole city’s worth of such scenes, sells dozens of every month from his own website and has just launched his first ever exhibition. A range of the pictures will hang in The Forum bar, in Devonshire Street, through the summer.
“It’s just snowballed, really,” he says. “I’m still so chuffed people like them.”
The snowball started when, after hearing those reaction from friends, he set up a stand at the 2011 Art in the Gardens in the Botanical Gardens. “It was just an experiment to see if they’d sell,” he says. “They were all gone within a couple of hours.
It’s easy to see why.
The images mix the straight lines of Alan’s graphic design training with the brash, bright colours and simplified images of a cartoon. Among the landmarks he’s done are Park Hill (complete with I Love You graffiti), the Winter Garden, the Botanical Gardens bear pit, the Weston Park bandstand (with Art Tower in the background) and Hunter House Road, complete with a resident struggling up the hill.
Because this is Sheffield, he’s also done one of the Hole in the Road and the Tinsley Towers.
“I think pictures of landmarks are popular because they’re special to people, they hold memories,” says the former Tapton School pupil. “The bandstand at Weston Park seems to be popular with people who got married there.”
And now after this first exhibition, he’s hoping to continue the series (“I’m always looking for new places,” he says) and maybe stretch them into other mediums. He’s already launched a range of cups, with postcards, tote bags and phone cases all potentially to follow.
“I’m just happy people have taken to them,” he says.
n Exhibition runs to August 24. See www.bohemiart.co.uk