Just look at how this amazing painter has captured Manchester city centre with neon lighting reflecting in the rain.
“I always had a pull towards the city with its…
neon lights hustle and bustle…
I would always feel excited going into town
with butterflies… I still have it today.”
Manchester United fan Michael Ashcroft has painted the town more than red.
The award-winning artist has captured the vibrancy of the city and Rio Ferdinand’s Rosso restaurant will be the venue for a preview of his latest 30-piece exhibition.
His work, in the style of American artist, Edward Hopper, reveals how neon-lit bars and cutting-edge design sit next to historic buildings. With the sheen of rain on pavements never far away, he’s caught Rosso, favourite Thai restaurant Chaophraya, Opera House and The Printworks.
“Reflections of Manchester” is all the more remarkable considering it was a near-death experience which brought out Michael’s potential to the full.
Michael, 45, said: “Growing up as a lad in a small rural Lancashire village I always had a pull towards the city with its tall buildings, fine architecture, neon lights hustle and bustle, or the buzz that a city creates.
“I would always feel excited going into town with butterflies and nervous anticipation. I still have it today.
“Alongside it I always had a fascination with street lamps, high contrast, reflections, neon lights and I guess that was part of the city but even now looking back throughout my childhood I remember being drawn to strong contrasts in everyday life.”
He added: “My love for cities, lights and atmosphere has always been there but it took a life changing experience in 1998 to bring it out fully. Being diagnosed with a brain tumour at 28 years old was a real bolt out of the blue.
“It took a long time to get over the initial diagnosis and operation but what it did do was reconnect me with art which I had always been interested in as a hobby.
“I had a natural flair for it inherited from my mother and it just came easy to me.
“I had spent a lot of time in Manchester after being diagnosed and I grew to love it. It became my second home. It’s funny but I thought I would turn away from Manchester but it made me feel closer.
“By now I had taken art back up and now I also had the subject, Manchester!
“By the end of the 90’s Manchester was picking itself up from the devastating impact the bomb had on the city and in some ways so was I.
“I grabbed onto its coat tails and we both went on a journey back to health.”
A one-off preview of the artist’s work take place on October 9 at Rosso and the exhibition will continue at the Colourfield Gallery, Poynton, from October 11 to 23.
Credit: Manchester Evening News
Words: Neal Keeling