Mixing the old scenes of a bygone Salford – the Kettle Drum pub, the Eccles Advertiser office, the rag and bone man – with the new underbelly of the city - tinned up terraces, bling and faceless and disaffected hoodies – Joe Coffey's paintings `speak' to many people. This is accessible art at its finest – simple and colourful, but with something massive to say about the state of Salford.
"I'm not glorifying hoodies or stereotyping Salford, it's not about that, I'm just documenting what I see around me" Joe explains "There's regeneration projects going on all over the inner city, but how much of that money will actually benefit Salford's communities and our youth?"
To underline the point, huge tears drop over Salford houses in more than one of Joe's paintings. His work is the visual backdrop to early 21st Century Salford, as Lowry's was to the mid 20th Century. Only this time there'll probably be a political backlash because Joe's art might put off a few BBC movers. In Salford, however, there's already a Facebook campaign to try and get Joe's work used as murals for local landmarks (see here)
But Joe's paintings aren't just of Salford's streets. Powerful primary coloured landscapes take a journey to an escapist dreamland – where hoodies and council houses come too.
Joe Coffey's HoodLife, featuring oils, acrylics, sculpture and sketches, runs at the Langworthy Cornerstone, 451 Liverpool Street, Salford, M6 5QQ from now until New Year 2011, with an official opening on September 30th. For further details on exhibition opening times, phone 0161 212 4400.
None of the work is for sale but visitors will be able to buy prints.
HoodLife is being promoted by SCMP (Salford Community Media Partnership) of which Salford Star is a member.
Photos of Joe Coffey by Zoe Savory