Best selling UK “cityscape” artist Nigel Cooke has launched a new gallery in an unlikely location.
Cooke, who is the top selling artist of his genre, has begun exhibiting his work at Rockwood Garden Centre at Grange Moor.
The Mirfield-born artist, who has sold £3m worth of commissions in the past four years, now lives in the area and has struck a deal with garden centre owner Paul Glover to use a large space upstairs as his studio and gallery.
Having spent the last few decades jetting between London, Paris and New York and exhibiting in top galleries across the country, Nigel said it was nice to have a gallery on his doorstep.
He said: “You don’t get many art galleries in garden centres but I have noticed some more established galleries are starting to rent space in garden centres as that’s where older people with lots of spare cash tend to go.
“I’ve opened this one as my agent in Harrogate had lots of my paintings in stock.
“It’s funny as nobody knows who I am round here but they do in Edinburgh and London.
“I’ve never really exhibited in Yorkshire so this is a first.”
Nigel is currently working on a paintings of New York, Paris, Amsterdam and somewhere closer to home, Manchester.
He said: “I do it from photographs but I also do travel to the cities.
“I used to think nothing of flying from London to Paris and straight on to New York and back in five days.
“I do use Google Streetview for reference but it’s not great for the paintings as the cameras are on poles on the top of cars so they’re not at the right angle.”
Garden Centre boss Mr Glover said: “It’s quite something to have some of these paintings here that would usually only be exhibited in London or Los Angeles.
“It’s a permanent exhibition and we’ve got about 40 or 50 originals up there at the moment.”
Biography: Nigel Cooke was born in Mirfield, in 1960. He joined the Merchant Navy after leaving school and subsequently has held a number of jobs on the road to becoming a full-time artist.
He sold his first painting at the age of 14 and joined Butlins as their resident caricaturist and entertainer in 1992. He later went on to open caricature concessions on Blackpool’s Central Pier and Pleasure Beach, in the Trafford Centre Mall in Manchester, and at Alton Towers. During this time he completed well over 10,000 hours of live drawing and painting.
Nigel has also worked as a character designer for the Hong Kong based C.I.M International and remains a member of the National Caricature Network in the USA, a body he joined in 1996.
From his caricature background Nigel has evolved his art into iconic cityscape paintings, capturing the mood, energy and atmosphere of the cities he paints. He is swiftly becoming one the UK’s most sought after artists.