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50 Northern Icons - Great Exhibition of the North

Frank Styles paints Angel of the North Great Exhibition Northern Design Centre

50 Northern Icons

50 paintings in 50 days, this commission by RTC North for the Great Exhibition of the North stretches 180 meters opposite the south side of the Northern Design Centre in Gateshead, not far from the Baltic and Sage Gateshead.

Painted for the Great Exhibition of the North it is now on display outside permanently, you don't need an invite to go and take a look.

The chosen icons are a result of public consultation, the public wanted a Greggs Steak bake and thats one of the things the Guardian amongst others picked up on. However the mural also features the first electric lighbulb, invented by Joseph Swan from Sunderland; the Nissan Leaf, Wallace and Gromit and the mysterious Rhubarb Triangle of West Yorkshire.

Painting these images was an eye opener as I learnt new northern history with each day. Working on many local history projects in Sunderland I now know more about the city's history than where I grew up in Kent, this gave me a chance to learn more from further a field to cover the whole of the north.  The project did have its downsides, as well as being exhausting, just having one day on each subject did leave me frustrated at times. With each painting I wanted to come back and finish the next day but of course I had to move on! One of my favourites is the Angel of the North which is much bigger than all the others, stretching 24 meters long I completed it in just 6 hours.

Abbott's Hill, Gateshead NE8 3DFAbbott's Hill, Gateshead NE8 3DF

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