Morecambe is renowned for many things including two icons, The Midland hotel and the beloved Eric Morecambe, synonymous with the song that crosses the generation gap – ‘Bring Me Sunshine’.
Artist, Neil Eckersley, successfully combines both of these in his painting of that name. When Simon Berry, Chairman and Managing Director of English Lakes saw Neil’s painting, he was quick to purchase the original which now takes pride of place on his office wall.
Neil who describes himself as an abstract impressionist artist uses strong vibrant colours to portray the modern world. The painting of The Midland, like much of his recent work, is produced using digital images. Neil was inspired to paint the iconic building when he attended the inaugural, and immensely popular, Vintage by the Sea, in September 2013, an event curated by Wayne Hemingway and hosted by The Midland. The event returns again this year on 6th and 7th September 2014.
This was not the first time that Neil and Wayne had crossed paths. At a previous event, and hoping to get some advice on how to succeed in the artistic and creative world, Neil had approached Wayne to ask just that. Underwhelmed by Wayne’s reply, ‘hard work’ and ‘determination’, Neil tossed back his credentials – the hard work and determination that went into representing Great Britain in two Olympic games and bringing home a medal from Los Angeles! Wayne thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated Neil’s candid reply, proof if needed that Neil would more than hold his own in the business world.
No stranger to sparring, Neil grew up in a tough area of Manchester and learned how to look after himself. This was balanced by a need to express his creativity and he flourished in art at school. “I have always had a problem with the written word because of dyslexia, but found painting to be the perfect way to express emotions and ideas that I wanted to communicate”. Neil’s early career, however, was far from the refined world of professional modern art. Strength of character, skill and determination took him to the peak of competitive judo, representing the country as a bantamweight champion in the 1984 and 1988 games. He was also the junior national men’s coach for six years and is on the Schools Commission of the British Judo Association.
After retiring from competitive judo following the Seoul Games, Neil worked in both the engineering industry and then in social care where he used art to help people express their thoughts and emotions. Indeed, painting also helped him recover from the sudden loss of his elder brother. In time, Neil turned his attention more fully toward art as a profession and is receiving critical acclaim. Neil’s latest works feature the New York skyline and are showcased on the Saatchi online collection of paintings by up-and-coming artists. Take a look at the full range of Neil’s work on neileckersleyart.co.uk. Prints of ‘Bring Me Sunshine’ can be purchased from The Midland hotel.
- Written by +Tina Taylor