Published on May 3, 2018 | by Alastair Gilmour


An artistic way to handle bars

The words resonate beautifully enough on their own, but is there any more comforting alliteration than “beer, bikes and bars”? No question. So, that’s what one North East cycling, ale and pub enthusiast is combining in an artistic fashion.

Chris Anderson is a planning officer at North Tyneside Council by day and has such a passion for pubs and cycling that he has turned the combination into an art form.

“I thought I’d put my two interests, ale and cycling, together,” says Whitley Bay resident Chris. “I’ve been producing prints of pubs for about 18 months. Each image has its own signature bike propped up somewhere on it. I started off doing the pubs I go in in the Ouseburn, Newcastle, as limited editions – The Cluny, Cumberland Arms, Free Trade Inn and Tyne Bar – which went down really well. They’re also easy to get to by bike so they’re aimed at leisure cyclist rather than the Lycra Tour de France cyclist.”

Chris has recently embarked on a series called Meet Me At… featuring pubs around the region that complement his previous prints of Whitley Bay and Tynemouth, all in the style of the old railway and tourism posters beloved of travellers and collectors. He has a notebook full of ideas and venues to cover.

Rather cleverly, he chose the name Velomentary for his project, as in “Elementary my dear Watson” (which Sherlock Holmes probably never said), plus “vélo” – French for bike and cycling.

Chris’ prints emerge from a series of photographs taken from different angles, then blended with computer skills, plus a bit of drawing finished off with blocks of colour printed on high quality card which lends them an air of vibrancy.

His colour palette is carefully chosen to reflect the character of each pub, such as his Cumberland Arms edition which nods towards orange sunset hues. He’ll undertake commissions and create images in different sizes, with one-offs and canvases, selling them through his website, in the meantime popping up at various Tyneside markets and craft fairs.

“But word-of-mouth is the best seller,” says Chris. “Someone will tell someone else and they’ll put them in touch with someone else again.”

Saddle up and track him down:

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Alastair Gilmour

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