Undeterred by the temporary closure of The Lowry’s Days Like These exhibition which features his work, Salford artist Philip Westcott shares the inspiration behind his art and future exhibitions with reporter Georgina Gilbert.
For more than 40 years, Salfordians have been captured in the art of everyday life by Philip Westcott whose work features popular areas such as Salford Shopping City and even a Royal Wedding Street party in Seedley.
After an eventful year, Mr Westcott, 69, has had recent paintings displayed at The Lowry’s ‘Days Like These’ exhibition and Age UK’s Art of Isolation book, with many more still to follow.
Mr Westcott has had work exhibited all over the world, but he has always been inspired by the people of Salford.
“If you think of Lowry, he was inspired by the streets he walked. I’ve always been in Salford, so things around here inspire me,” he said.
“I started off painting Salford market, and as I was painting that the Precinct was starting to develop, so that became my subject matter.”
With Covid-19 still looming, Mr Westcott has seen a changing drive in his inspiration since March.
“Covid has taken everyone’s life and that’s what I’ve been painting recently, a series of paintings showing how people are reacting to that,” he said.
The Lowry’s ‘Days Like These’ exhibition is a new showcase that shares the many stories of Salford throughout 2020 using paintings, poetry, and photographs, which Mr Westcott has four paintings in.
He said: “I was really proud, I like people to see my work. I don’t just want it to be stuck in my house.
“It gets a lot more difficult nowadays. Galleries might get 200 applicants for about 10 places, so you might have to wait two or three years to get in.”
The exhibition initially opened on November 1 but has been shelved until December 5 due to the UK’s second lockdown.
Mr Westcott has also had artwork published in Age UK’s book Art of Isolation, a showcase of artists’ work during lockdown to reflect the response of the public. Mr Westcott said: “My painting is in of the two nurses at Salford Royal hospital.
“It’s nice when it gets in a book, because you get more people seeing it.
“Being proud about it, you know, it’s a nice response as well.”
The Covid-19 lockdown has affected us all in one way or another. For Mr Westcott, he has found painting as a way of relaxation through the year: “When I paint, it’s like meditation in a way.
“You just forget everything that’s going on. You forget your worries and you know, time passes.”
Mr Westcott’s artwork also features in a new exhibition by Queen Mary University in London, which began on November 14. The exhibition shows people’s experience of the Covid-19 pandemic as part of the Being Human’ festival.
The theme for Being Human Festival 2020 is ‘New Worlds’, where the exhibition aims to bring people together, to share people’s experiences of Covid-19 and to understand how we can live in a new world with Covid-19.
Mr Westcott said: “I’ve never heard of a magnet exhibition before, but I was interested to find out what it was, I’m sure it will be fun.”