Catfish - Liam Burke

For today’s post we head to Scarborough where visual artist Liam Burke’s been working on a series of colourful digital drawings. Liam’s one of the ten artists we’ve supported to explore their ideas in our Young Artist Development Programme.

Liam tells us more about the buildings of Scarborough, the drawings they’ve inspired and his experience of exhibiting a piece of work at a gallery. Over to Liam to tell us more.

I’ve done very well with my digital art, including my picture of the Lighthouse that used to be on display in the window of Stephen Joseph Theatre as one of the exhibits of Stories of Scarborough. Below is a drawing of the theatre.

A digital freehand block-colour drawing of Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough. The sky is a vivid blue, with two white clouds sitting in it. The theatre is a 20th century build, and has sections of various heights and sizes. The lower floor of the building is black, with grey cross-hatching across all of it, with red accents and a red overhanging canopy. There are various blank frames along the left lower wall, as well as the logo of the theatre, which is a red image with a white silhouette of the building and the letters SJT. On the right lower wall are four red entrance doors. The words ‘CIDER WITH ROSIE 25 SEPT - 5 OCT’ and ‘THE SUITCASE KID 12 - 14 OCT’ are written boldly above them. The upper floors of the building are brown and beige, with a semicircle dome directly above the entrance doors. There are dozens of tiny windows all over the building, wrapping around the building in some places and climbing up it in others. On the right upper side of the building, the word THEATRE is written in red lettering, and next to it is a theatre logo. On the highest point of the building the word CINEMA is there in black lettering, with the word THEATRE below it.Stephen Joseph Theatre – By Liam Burke

The Grand Hotel is an interesting structure inspired by the theme of time. The hotel has 4 towers which represent the seasons, 365 bedrooms, one for each day in the year, 12 floors which symbolise the months, and 52 chimneys that are inspired by the weeks of the year, and it is shaped like a letter V that honours Queen Victoria in whose reign it was built.

A digital freehand block-colour drawing of the Grand Hotel in Scarborough, which is sitting upon some dark green grass. The hotel is a Victorian building with at least 7 floors, with domes and turrets on the roof. It is drawn with a long yellow ground floor, with arched doorways and long rectangular windows. The two floors above it are much shorter, and are brown with small square and arched windows. Above this are two more floors coloured beige, which each have a series of long windows running next to each other. One of these sets of windows is coloured blue, the other is white. The two floors above these - the tallest two floors of the building - are beige, with tall windows of various shapes, with dark orange external framing. The roof is a dark green and black. The Grand Hotel – By Liam Burke

Here are some more images in the same series.

A digital freehand block-colour drawing of Scarborough Castle. A royal blue has been used for the sky, with two shades of green for the grass beneath the castle. The castle is in ruins, and sits on a sloped hill. It is coloured with different shades of brown and beige, and has shading where shadows fall in the various windows, and cross-hatching to show the brick pattern.Scarborough Castle – By Liam Burke

A digital freehand block-colour drawing of the Old Town in Scarborough, shown on a sunny day. The castle sits at the top of the image, coloured with earthy tones, and is supported by hills and fields of different kinds of green, as well as some orange and black parts. The hill leads down into a town. Each building is of a different style, height and colour, with lots of them being red, orange or brown. Some of the houses sit high along the hillside, but most of them sit in the middle of the image, all in a row, and overlook a seafront. A few buildings are on the sea front, along with some brightly coloured shapes. The beach is coloured beige, with a light blue sea in front of it. Six or seven stick people are on the beach - some of them are together, and some are alone. Scarborough Old Town – By Liam Burke

A digital freehand block-colour drawing of the gardens at Woodend, Scarborough. The drawing is done from close-up, so only some of the building is visible. It is shown from a standing or sitting perspective, and the building appears smaller in the right half of the image. Low arches of varying red and beige colours stand on top of green grass, and are supported by ground supports and pillars. On top of these arches is a balcony, with a wire fence, which sits in front of a two-storey building. The building is beige, with orange stone facing accents and window shutters. The windows are long and rectangular, and are of various styles and sizes. Woodend Gardens – By Liam Burke

I also had a great day in Hull recently, my first visit to the city, despite the terrible weather and heavy traffic. I’m amazed that my artwork ‘Catfish’ is displayed in the Ferens Art Gallery Open Exhibition, the same gallery where an original and real Monet is too.

My image is of Edith Sitwell, who was a poet, and the quote in my picture is how she described herself. From 1887 to 1914 she lived in Woodend in Scarborough, before it became a museum and gallery, with her unloving parents and family. She then moved to Bayswater.

A digital freehand block-colour drawing of poet Edith Sitwell. She is wearing a headscarf, which has been coloured purple, and her face has been coloured in different colours. Her forehead is red, the left section of her face is teal, and the right is green. Her right eye is pink, and her nose is yellow. She is looking straight on, with a thoughtful expression on her face. From either side of her jaw there’s a black line that extends outwards, and curves downwards. Beneath her is a pale yellow speech bubble. It reads: “I’m an unpopular electric eel set in a pond of catfish."Catfish – By Liam Burke

Do you think it’s funny that the word Catfish now has a different meaning, and what do you think Edith would have thought of that?


Thanks so much Liam for a great post and these incredible images. I didn’t know anything about Edith Sitwell but this intriguing picture, quote and question inspired me to learn more. I was also inspired to draw my own surroundings by Liam’s detailed, joyful drawings Scarborough.

You can explore some of the other guest posts here and look out for more work in the weeks to come.

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