Artist of the Month - John Elles

The Borough, Lancaster, by John Elles

The Borough, Lancaster, by John Elles - Credit: Archant

Rich colours mixing the past and present create a perfect ‘film set’ vision of Lancaster, writes Barbara Waite

Elles Gallery with John Elles

Elles Gallery with John Elles - Credit: Archant

We’re time-travelling this month with Lancaster artist John Elles. His paintings merge modern townscapes with ideas of the recent past using warm colours – predominantly brown, orange and red.

Among the landmarks John has painted are Lancaster’s famous Williamson Memorial, the Quay with its Custom House, and Dalton Square, featured here, complete with the statue of Queen Victoria.

John, who was born in and lives in Lancaster, said: ‘In these local scenes I merge the modern with elements of the past. The intention is to present a rich re-imagining of familiar places by manipulating the layers of time.

‘I got the idea of mixing past and present from work done on movie sets, where the buildings remain but modern street furniture and signage are removed,’ John explained. ‘I like to challenge perception, make people think about how they imagine the past to be. You could say I’m subverting reality.’

John, who has a degree in Landscape Architecture from Manchester Metropolitan University, worked in architecture after studies at The Storey Institute, Lancaster’s college of art before going on to complete his degree.

He worked for many years with master craftsman and interior designer, James Mackie of Mackie’s of Lancaster, primarily as a specialist painter on upmarket interior projects and has just opened up his own gallery in Gage Street just a stone’s throw away from this scene.

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The Elles Gallery features John’s original paintings in oil as well as limited edition prints - framed or unframed - and hand-embellished editions. Alongside his Lancaster scenes, John also paints pop culture icons such as Jimi Hendrix, Marilyn Monroe, Amy Winehouse and David Bowie and has been commissioned to paint portraits.

Locals may also know John through his other guise as drummer with the Hammond organ beat duo, Get Carter, who recently celebrated their 10th anniversary with a gig starring former Supertramp saxophonist, John Helliwell.

To see more visit the gallery which is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm or his website