Wirral Festival of Firsts 2014:
Harry Hill – Mike McCartney – Willy Russell
Holiday Inn Express, Hoylake 26th June – 21st July 2014
Harry Hill (pictured above) visited Hoylake in person yesterday to launch a display of selected works from his My Hobby, the exhibition that formed part of the Edinburgh Art Festival in 2013 alongside Mike McCartney’s acclaimed photos and a brand new set of cartoons which Mike calls his Weirdos!
In a reception, hosted by Holiday Inn Express Hoylake, John Gorman, Director of the Festival, Festival organisers and volunteers were joined by the Mayor of Wirral Steve Foulkes, his partner, Elaine Nolan, the Right Hon. Esther McVey MP, local Councillors and many representatives of the local arts community to celebrate the exhibition which runs until 21st July 2014, as well as the imminent start of the Festival of Firsts on 5th July 2014. The Mayor of Wirral wished the festival well remarking that it “has grown like topsy” since it began in 2011!
Harry’s paintings reveal a colourful parallel universe where celebrity and nature come together in surreal landscapes. These works are in contrast to the romantic painted landscape exhibited by Willy Russell who features in this year’s festival both in live interview and film.
The mainly monochrome photography of Mike McCartney adds a calming influence to the bold colours of Hill’s narrative works. Mike McCartney invites us to share his special relationship with some of the greatest rock and roll stars of past and present. He photographed at such venues as the Tower Ballroom in New Brighton and Liverpool’s famous Cavern Club. The flash gun he used when photographing these acts onstage earned him the nickname “Flash Harry” from Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein. His photographs show various aspects of the rock-star lifestyle, from the adrenaline of Little Richard onstage, to a considerably more relaxed Graham Nash snoozing on a train. Other musicians captured by McCartney’s lens include Gene Vincent, Jerry Lee Lewis, Sandy Shaw, Jeff Beck, Grace Jones, Kaiser Chiefs and Alice Cooper. These photos are placed side by side with Mike’s brand new set of cartoons – The Weirdos.