The Echo 800

echo-800.jpgYesterday’s Liverpool Echo had a front page designed by Peter Blake and amongst many other 800th birthday-related features had a list of ‘800 people who put Liverpool on the map’

On his blog, Stuart Burns, very kindly says “Obviously I’m biased but at present an unsung hero like Ian Jackson of Art In Liverpool is doing as much as anyone for the culture of the city — I’ve often attended events and heard people say that they wouldn’t have known about had it not been for his blog.
Ta very much Stu!

But I was more concerned to see how well the visual arts featured in the list – not very well I’m afraid. This isn’t really a criticism of the compilers, although 800 is a long list you’re never going to please everybody. I suppose its more a reflection of society. Very few people could probably come up with more than a couple of names of contemporary artists and an artists birthplace is rarely mentioned.

There’s a few late artists (Dooley, Walsh, Henri, Crane) but the only living ones with any link to the visual arts are
Antony Gormley (whose only link to Liverpool is the statues at Crosby beach)
Yoko Ono (whose only link is as Mrs Lennon and some exhibits here)
Clive Barker (born in Liverpool, can paint a bit but really known for his writing)
Holly Johnson (born in Liverpool, can paint a bit but really known for his singing)
Ralph Steadman – cartoonist
Bill Tidy – cartoonist
June Furlong – artist’s model
and Shirley Hughes (Wirral, daughter of TJ Hughes – excellent illustrator of her own children’s books)

Of course the list includes enough footballers to fill Stanley Park, shed-loads of musicians, actors, comedians and Coleen McLoughlin who has achieved greatness by being Wayne Rooney’s girlfriend.

We really need to raise the profile of Liverpool artists more.

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