George Parker-Conway creates portraits and drawings in traditional and digital media, inspired by history, politics, film and entertainment.
In 2020 George was commissioned by Manchester Histories to create a portrait of Alf Morris, the MP who pioneered the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act (CSDPA). To mark the 50-year anniversary of this landmark legislation, Manchester Histories held an online festival, ‘DigiFest’, for which George also created the brand identity and illustrations.
In early 2021 George completed an online placement at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, as part of Venture Arts’ Cultural Enrichment Programme. He produced a series of portraits of Gaskell family members, as well as a blog which you can read here.
George holds a Foundation Degree in Illustration from Stockport College.
How long have you been making art?
“For as long as I can remember. I still have my first few pieces of art, they are a self portrait and a drawing of Thomas the Tank Engine, I was about 4 or 5 when I did them.”
What are your favourite art materials to work with?
“I like working with pencil, paint, acrylic and oil and mixed media materials. I also like working with digital software, I use Photoshop and Illustrator.”
What is your art about?
“A lot of my work is to do with portraits, mainly actors and actresses. I have done a portrait of William Shakespeare and Emmeline Pankhurst. The research about people is an important factor in my work, the historical context and studying and reading about that person.
“I like looking at pieces of artwork and trying to get the sense of what the messages are in the work, and the history that informs it.”
What, or who, inspires you as an artist?
“Rembrandt, Vincent Van Gogh, his portraits are very good. Jim Kay, I went to a talk that he did at Manchester Central Library. L.S Lowry.
“History and politics inspires me, film and the entertainment industry, lots of the portraits that I have done have been people who worked in that sector.
“Different art movements, pop art, cubism. Also interested in different types of architecture like gothic architecture.”
Why is art important to you?
“It allows me to explore my creativity and use my imagination in different ways and allows me to show off my talents that people might not know about. It makes me feel relaxed, excitement and it’s a form of escapism for me and takes away my worries and stresses.”
What has been your proudest moment as an artist?
“Seeing my artwork exhibited at places like the Lowry and the People’s History Museum.
“Proud that I had my work shown in Manchester Histories Digifest and that I was asked to design the graphics for the event with Graphic designer David Caunce. It was really great to see my work on a big scale at the opening of Manchester Digifest and featured throughout on a huge board, at one point Andy Burnham was stood in front of it and was delivering a talk about the event, it was very surreal.”
Where do you want to take your art next?
“I would be interested in doing more murals, I have done one in the past in Stockport with my art foundation with other people on my course, I enjoyed collaborating with other artists.”
Manchester Histories Digifest, online exhibition, 2020
Art Jam, The Lowry, October 2017 – March 2018
Techno-colour, The Lowry, September 2016 – February 2017