‘My inspiration comes from York city centre’

'Customer Focus' – a new take on an old street by Philip
26 Oct 2013 @ 2.25 pm
| News
'Customer Focus' – a new take on an old street by Philip
‘Customer Focus’ – a new take on an old street by Philip

This week marks your last chance to see the artworks of Philip Hart, also known as Cellarvee, on display at Mermaid & Miller. Here he explains why York is the inspiration for his work

I am a self-trained oil painter, having started painting shortly after I moved to York ten years ago.

I work only in oils and my subjects tend to be either the people and scenery of York, or portraits. In either case my pictures are fairly realistic, but I will always add a twist to make them humorous, impossible, or just make a statement about what is happening in the world.

'Olympic Legacy'
‘Olympic Legacy’

One of my pictures is titled Customer Focus and depicts a stall set up in Stonegate. A bit of humour was added by having the stall sell the cobble stones from underfoot. Portraits have shown very sophisticated, well-dressed women with the unlikely addition of a “kiss-me-quick” hat, or a parrot on the shoulder.

A statement was made in Olympic Legacy which contrasts the great achievements of our athletes with the financial interests of the 2012 Games.

My inspiration comes mainly from the city centre, where I find interesting corners as subject matter, often hidden away.

These have included the Blue Bicycle, the Lakeland shop at the corner of St Helen’s Square, the Ghost Walk touter on his stilts near the Minster, a drunk in Petergate, a bus queue outside the Theatre Royal, as well as more usual tourist places like Stonegate and Shambles.

'Parrot Sketch'
‘Parrot Sketch’

My pictures are all about the people in these situations. The backgrounds I portray are often distorted, either warped or the colours dramatically changed. The characters are usually fairly normal, giving an impression of the normality of life within a challenging world.

I finish fewer than ten pieces a year and exhibit exclusively in York.


  • Philip’s exhibition runs until the October 31 at Mermaid & Miller, Swinegate, York