A local artist is helping Stockport Produce Hall to reach the ‘next level.’
Eric Jackson, who lives in Cale Green, is staging an exhibition of his popular poster art at the hall to mark the opening of its new cocktail bar on the mezzanine floor.
Eric recently produced a one-off imitation of his iconic ‘Hat’s Off to Stockport’ print for the award winning front cover of Hatters Promotions‘ new brochure
The exhibition, titled Hats Off to Stockport and the first one ever to be held at the Produce Hall, opens on Friday, September 20 with a launch party the night before. It will feature posters depicting numerous districts in Stockport, including the Heatons, Hazel Grove, Marple and Edgeley, along with Manchester and general northern posters.
Since switching from journalism four years ago after a 36-year-long career that included spells on national and regional publications and being the arts editor, travel editor and deputy features editor at the Manchester Evening News, married father-of two Eric has painted almost 70 posters, and his work is can be found at galleries, shops, cafes and pubs around the region.
Cheshire-based DJ and broadcaster Mark Radcliffe has described his work as ‘brilliant, witty and acerbic.’ A number of celebrities, including Cold Feet’s John Thomson and former Corrie star Sally Lindsay, own his work.
The Produce Hall, with its mix of specialist food stalls and craft beers in Stockport’s historic Market place, opened in April, and has proved an instant hit. Recently it has seen the introduction of live music and independent food stalls Angkor Soul (Cambodian), Chaat Cart (Southern Indian) and Black Espresso (vegetarian/vegan cafe).
Exhibiting there, says Eric, will be the highlight of his artistic career.
“The space on the mezzanine floor is amazing, and I’ve always loved the building. I used to go shopping for cheese there with my mum when I was a young boy. It’s always had the potential to be something special, and now I’m really glad to be a part of it,” he said
The success of Stockport Produce hall, which also hosts regular yoga sessions, has acted as a major catalyst for investment around the Market Place area, with more bars and restaurants, including the Angel pub and a ‘Viking’ tapas bar, opening up. Stockport Council believe that that, together with the improvements on Underbank and the hundreds of new flats being build nearby, will help transform the town centre into a vibrant, prosperous area to rival Manchester’s Northern Quarter.
Stockport-based Steve Pilling, who runs the Stockport Produce Hall with his team of 50 and is a keen art lover, said he was attracted to Eric’s work because of its vivid imagery and humour.
“To be honest, at first I didn’t even realise it was all hand-painted. I though it was computer-generated, it’s so life-like. But he’s really hit the nail on the head with his captions that poke gentle fun at our local towns. It’s a tough trick to pull off – amusing without being insulting,” said Steve.
Just around the corner from the Produce Hall, The Warren gallery shop also features Eric’s work, along with scores of other local artists, and his posters can also be seen in the town at the Hat Museum and the Funky Monkey Cafe in Davenport. Other outlets include the Chorlton Art Market shop, Gift and Home in Altrincham, The Bean and Brush Family Art Cafe in Sale, the Red Willow Pub in Macclesfield and the Jarva Gallery in Whaley Bridge.
The full range of his work can be seen on Eric’s website