Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Artist Brings Life ... to Life; TONY HENDERSON Talks to an Artist with a Range from Chips to Ships

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Artist Brings Life ... to Life; TONY HENDERSON Talks to an Artist with a Range from Chips to Ships

Article excerpt

Byline: TONY HENDERSON

TOM Dack is an artist with an eye for the everyday. It could be a shop, pub or workplace, men laying a gas main or spreading tar to repair a road.

Now more than 30 of Tom's works will go on show on Saturday at South Shields Museum and Art Gallery in an exhibition titled The Magnetic North.

Tom, who lives in Whitley Bay, must be one of very few artists to lovingly depict a fish and chip ship, although this was also one of the subjects chosen by the now-famous Pitmen Painters before the Second World War.

Tom came across his old-fashioned chippy while visiting a friend in Burnopfield in County Durham.

"I saw this rickety chip shop with smoke pouring out the top and thought I had to paint it before it vanishes," says Tom. It is a sentiment which echoes through his work. One of his paintings depicts the last shift at Swan Hunter shipyard at Wallsend on the Tyne.

Another, The Toilers, shows miners from another vanished industry.

Tom also painted boys playing football in front of a gasometer in North Shields, which has also now disappeared.

"I thought, everything is disappearing, there is no identity left. I wanted to try to make a record of these things."

Happily, one establishment and subject of Tom's attention which has not gone the journey is the Free Trade Inn at the mouth of the Ouseburn in Newcastle, said to have one of the finest river views of any public house.

"I love places with atmosphere and I love the Free Trade and where it is," says Tom. He was born and grew up in Heaton, Newcastle, and went on to serve for three years in the RAF.

He then studied at Newcastle College of Art and Design and left the North East to find work as an artist.

That included five years in the Lake District, working as an artist for Kendal-based K Shoes and living in Newby Bridge at the bottom end of Lake Windermere. …

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