Art, Culture

Shaped by the City: The young creatives building their very own Mancunian legacy

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Featured image: Eloise Marshall

Manchester has blossomed from a historically industrial town into a creative hub, attracting emerging artists across a variety of creative fields who call this city their home. Three up-and-coming local creatives share how living in the city has impacted their respective creative careers. Each artist aims to build their own unique Mancunian legacy, based on the communities they grew up with and the community they have found in the city.

Mancunian born and bred Kea Bell, currently studying Film Music at Leeds Conservatoire University, discusses the impact of growing up in Fallowfield: “When I was younger, I tried to make the most of those opportunities by always going to the local music and art workshops they put on and learning from different people in the community.”

It was immersing herself in the local creative network and learning from role models within music, which led to her decision to embark on a career in film music composition. She says, “It was nice to meet other people that I could look up to in Manchester and keep learning about the creative side of myself through them.”

Manchester student designer and co-owner of streetwear brand Prodigal Scum, Alex Edwards, shares how the skating community in his home town of Cheltenham has become the heart and soul of his creative practice. Prodigal Scum was originally founded to prevent the closure of a local skate park and snowballed into a recognised brand within his skating community. 

Alex explains how the local skating community forged the core values of Prodigal Scum from the very beginning: “It’s very much like a family community.” He adds that all of the profit from the brands first ever product drop went towards efforts to protect the local skate park because they “wanted to give something back to the people who had welcomed us in”.

Prodigal Scum has now gone on to develop a tight-knit, cult following across Greater Manchester. “Networking-wise there’s no better place to be right now than Manchester,” says Alex. “It’s just such a great hub for so many creative outputs. I’ve been lucky enough to meet some great people since I’ve moved up here.”

Through connections made in Manchester, the clothing brand has gone on to organise pop-ups across the country including Leeds, Shoreditch, Birmingham and Bristol.

Eloise Marshall is a final year Fine Art student at the Manchester School of Art, part of Manchester Met, having moved from her hometown in rural Newcastle. She specialises in contemporary abstract expressionism, drawing inspiration from her local surroundings in the city.

The blend of green spaces within the city, such as Whitworth park, have been the recent source of inspiration for Eloise. Through her surroundings she has gone on to develop her signature style, explaining she gathers “references from plant life for colours and shapes in [her] paintings”.

Reflecting on how living in Manchester has influenced her as an artist Eloise says, “Being in a modern city that is full of emerging artists and being able to access the art locally through places such as The Whitworth gallery, is what has influenced my work the most since moving here.”

Their time spent in Manchester so far has already shaped the practices of these three young artists, following in the footsteps of the creatives that have come before them and forging a new creative identity for the city going forward. 

Are you a creative working in Manchester? Get in touch and share your story with @aAh_mag

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Caitlin Baber

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