It’s Yorkshire Day. And while, technically speaking, these very South Yorkshire- set scenes never actually happened, such a minor detail hasn’t stopped the artist who imagined them becoming something of a local hit.
Barnsley boy Terry Brookes is currently creating a collection of paintings in which music legends and cult stars appear in iconic Tarn locations. Another sees Elvis supping county’ tea in a greasy spoon.
Now, after the 57-year-old posted a selection of his images online, they’ve proven so popular curators at the new Experience Barnsley museum have been in touch and asked him to exhibit there. Not bad for an IT worker who only started the series after wife Joanne told him she was bored with the painting hanging in their hallway – and demanded Terry take up his brushes and do a new one.
“When she says to do something, I have to do it,” notes the father-of-two of Longcar Lane.
Although he’s been painting since childhood (works include Yorkshire Paralympian Hannah Cockroft winning her two gold medals, and his hero Morrissey enjoying a scone in Betty’s in York), he hit on inspiration for his new works after seeing a picture of Barnsley Town Hall in the 1970s. He noticed there was a zebra crossing in Market Hill.
“Maybe I’m a bit of a music obsessive but it immediately made me think of the Abbey Road cover,” he explains. “I started thinking wouldn’t it have been great if The Beatles had been to Barnsley? Everything’s grown from that thought, really.
“After I’d finished it I put it on Twitter and it just took off. I had people getting in touch asking if they could buy a copy. I’ve never sold a painting in my life – and obviously I wanted to keep it for the home so I said no. I’ll get some prints done in time for the exhibition, though.”
Notably in the picture George is carrying a bag from Casa-Disco, the town’s legendary record shop once located in Peel Square.
“I’m thinking I might do an improved version for the exhibition,” adds Terry. “Paul will be carrying a bag of Albert Hirst chops.”
Other ideas he’s developing, meanwhile, include the Arctic Monkeys outside The Citrus Rooms venue in Eastgate (which they actually played) and Oasis mooching in the town centre.
“Painting is something which helps me relax,” says Terry. “I enjoy it. It’s nice people are into what I’m doing but, first and foremost, I do it for myself.”
It is, fittingly, a very Yorkshire attitude.
Exhibition runs at Experience Barnsley from January 11 next year.
by Colin Drury