What would have happened if the Beatles did actually visit Barnsley whilst making their iconic album? How would the world of music have reacted if the Beatles had called their world-famous album Market Hill instead of Abbey Road?............
I have always painted; self-taught, and driven and enthused by my dad who was, amongst other things, a semi-professional wrestler, painter, signwriter, builder. All the stuff I'm doing now have roots in what I was doing in my teens – pop art, music, comic related stuff; influenced by the likes of Warhol, Lichtenstein, Peanuts, DC Comics, Tin Tin, Edward Hopper, Hockney, the list goes on and on…
Strangely enough, when I was about 14, and in the heyday of the Beatles Abbey Road, I painted a copy of the album cover and hung it on my class notice board at Holgate Grammar school – an older boy offered me a couple of bob for it – I turned him down – the painting went missing (mysteriously) a couple of days later. How ironic then, that all these years later a re-working of the same image has been the cornerstone of this, my first, exhibition.
To say I am a music fan is an understatement. I have always loved and collected music, especially vinyl; ranging from the days of the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Stax, Motown, The Who, Hendrix, Bowie, The Clash, Roxy Music, Led Zep, Ramones, Lou Reed through to The Jam, The Smiths, Joy Division, Echo & The Bunnymen, to modern day. The list is endless.
Around 4 years ago I started painting prolifically, for my own amusement, and decided to set up my own website that I could easily maintain and load up images of my artwork. Nothing too fancy, just for fun & to show to friends.
I painted some quirky scenes of Barnsley, starting with a couple of the now defunct Casa Disco record shop - the first being Casa Disco '77 - portraying a young punk looking in the window at the iconic albums from that year.
Looking through some old photos, one caught my eye of Barnsley's Market Hill which, at one time, had a zebra crossing at the bottom, and the majestic Town Hall building at the top. This reminded me of the Abbey Road cover, and the "When the Beatles came to Barnsley" idea was born.
Mid 2013 my paintings were spotted by the wonderful people at the exciting Experience Barnsley Museum and, after planning the exhibition, I have been hard work to enhance the BROOKESart world. The power of social media, eh?
So where does Seagull Ted fit into all this? From an earlier painting the cocky Seagull Ted was born. Named Ted, because of his prominent quiff, and subsequently became my logo and started to have a life of his own, demanding to be a bigger part of the exhibition and intrude into all elements of my paintings.
Obviously, most of the imagery at the exhibition are my wild imaginings and were meant to be amusing and enjoyed for what they are; fun paintings. But what is real, and what isn’t? I'll leave you to decide. I hope you enjoy "When the Beatles came to Barnsley" – in the words of Lennon & McCartney; "we hope you will enjoy the show".
The Fab Five
Fab Four Reflections / Town Hall Steps / when the Beatles came to Barnsley
Going Down Backwards / Locke Park Tower Helter Skelter
Going Down Backwards
Poor Scamp the blind Cocker doesn’t realise he’s going down backwards
Locke Park Helter Skelter
Weeeeeeeh!! No Beatles exhibition would be complete without a Helter Skelter
Donated to the Cooper 100 Art Auction
Arctic Ted & admirers - I bet you look Gull on the dancefloor
AM 23/8/2006 At the Citrus Rooms – a date that has gone down in the annals of Barnsley rock and roll history
Why'd you only call me when you Fly
The Brookestock Festival - three days of Peace, Love and Barnsley Bitter
Jimi Live In Locke Park
An impromptu gig as part of the Brookestock festival in Locke Park. Jimi played his rare "brookesdrops" Flying V. Were you there?
"brookesdrops" Flying V
A mini replica of the Flying V played at the Locke Park gig.
The original was hand-painted by Jimi one evening with his girlfriends nail varnish.
It was sold at a New York auction house for an undisclosed sum to a mysterious Japanese collector with a Barnsley accent.
The Fab Four cake
Jimi Live in Locke Park - the bootleg
A bootleg of the gig that has gone down in Barnsley rock and roll folklore.
Only a handful of these discs now exist and change hands for huge sums at record collector fairs.
Jimi Live in Locke Park the bootleg / Tarn Records
Cross Tarn Traffic
Ey Up Joe
All Along the Locke Park Tower
Have You Ever Been to (Elsecar or Hoyland)
Jimi Live in Locke Park - fan photographs
These black and white photographs are the only record that remain of Jimi's appearance at Brookestock. They were taken by a fan on his Brownie box camera at various locations during the day
Ziggy's Last Stand / A Gull Insane
Jamming good with Weird and Gilly. Ziggy performs rock n’ roll suicide at the Civic
TED Ornithology - it's time the tale were told....
Published at the end of 2013, Ted lays bare his soul (and feathers) in this addition to the Seagull Classics series.
Barnsley sporting hero, and father of the artist, Ron "Stoker" Brookes in his wrestling attire
Casa Disco '77 / Red, White & Black - From Hotel Yorba to Casa Disco
Casa Disco - '77
Did you get your first album from Casa Disco?
1977 was slap bang in the middle of the punk era & a great year for iconic albums, including; the Sex Pistols, Bowie, Iggy Pop, the Ramones and The Jam
My Favourite Shops
A selection of my favourite Barnsley shops with some unusual shoppers. Can you recognise them all?
Town Hall Ted
Ted keeps a watchful eye on the Barnsley townsfolk from his favourite perch
Rob And Mick - They’re up all night to Get Lucky
Barnsley Main photo booth
One of the few ways of becoming a miner these days is to have your photo taken in the miners photo booth. Currently on display at the fantastic National Coalmining Museum www.ncm.org.uk