Manc of the Month: Tom Quigley

We love an artist that can find beauty in areas that may be overlooked, or seem a bit dark and dingy. That is exactly what this months Manc of the Month artist does! Tom Quigley, a painter who manages to find the beauty in the backstreet bins, invites you to find the beauty too. All those streets we know so well yet not at all, Tom brings them to the forefront, making you aware of our city’s hidden treasures. Read on to find out more about this artist, his history, his work, and find out which pub he votes his favourite in Manchester city centre!

Cotton On Mcr: Please introduce yourself/your work to our readers.

Tom Quigley: ‘Hi everyone, my names Tom Quigley and I’m an urban landscape painter and art teacher. My work is based around the urban environment, currently the backstreets of Manchester.’

CO: You had a solo exhibition at Kelder in Urmston back in July which showcased your Urmston-inspired artwork. Why was this exhibition important to you? 

TQ: ‘I live in Urmston, it’s special place to me. I’ve seen it change over the years and the town has re-built itself to the thriving town it is today. I wanted to celebrate independent businesses by painting them and bring the town together.’

CO: What are you looking for when choosing which of Manchester’s urban landscapes to paint? 

TQ: ‘When choosing an area of the city to record I tend to be drawn to places which have atmospheric qualities, I love the northern quarter and its architecture, these buildings and streets give a glimpse in to the city’s past. I like to record elements of the city which would normally be disregarded or insignificant. I like to include graffiti, bins and other everyday objects in the urban landscape.’ 

CO: We recently shared a work-in-progress image of Backstreet 1 on our Instagram and it made our Top 9 images of 2019. Can you tell us more about this painting?

TQ: ‘I’ve been wanting to capture the backstreets for a while, I take photographs every weekend around Manchester (people must think I’m mad seeing me down a back street every Sunday). This painting was on ‘Back Piccadilly’ and was the first piece I did of them and it got me hooked. There are some hidden gems of sticker art and graffiti down them which remind me of New York. 

CO: What do you think of Manchester’s art scene?

TQ: ‘The Manchester art scene is massive, it’s fantastic. I’ve met so many creative people along my own artist journey. I think it helps the city supports the arts and realise how much culture it brings to the city. Manchester has some of the best upcoming contemporary artists and I feel the city is the capital of the North in regards creative people.’

CO: How did you come to pursue your career path?

TQ: ‘Ever since I was old enough to hold a pencil I was drawing. My path started at GCSE, then a BTEC in Graphics at South Trafford college. From there I realised I wanted to go back to traditional drawing methods and studied Fine Art at Leeds Metropolitan University. I was creating art but wanted a stable job and studied a Post Graduate in teaching. Once a qualified teacher, I continued my own practise, and tried to get myself into galleries. Last year I approached Saul Hay gallery who now represent me. As an artist you never stop learning and I still paint every day.’

CO: How did you settle on making landscapes your main focus? 

TQ: ‘It felt natural to paint urban landscapes as I lived in the city. I have created rural landscapes but always come back to buildings, there’s so much variety and I always see something new.’

CO: What challenges have you faced in your career and how have you been able to overcome them? 

TQ: ‘One struggle I had was getting my artwork in the public eye. One way I over came this was to make sure I visited galleries, exhibitions and spoke to people in the same field. They gave me advice and helped me progress. social media is a fantastic resource also, it’s helped my artwork reach a wider audience and given me many opportunities. So if I have any advice, use those social media platforms.’

CO: What’s your favourite pub in Manchester and why? 

TQ: ‘I would have to say the Peveril Of The Peak. It’s a unique looking pub and a landmark of the city. ‘

CO: Outside of art, what are your hobbies and interests? 

TQ: ‘When ever I can I love to travel, I love to explore the world and take in other cultures, in particular New York.’

CO: And lastly, if you could live in any artwork/painting, which would it be and why?  

TQ: ‘If I had to live in any painting it would have to be ‘Early Sunday Morning‘ by Edward Hopper. His sense of light is amazing. I try to put a little bit of Hopper in everyone of my own paintings.’

‘Early Sunday Morning‘, 1930, Edward Hopper’

See more of Tom Quigley’s work on his Instagram page. Read previous Manc of the Month interviews here.

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