“I draw shapes of colour in order to build up an image and see how many, or how few, shapes are needed for the viewer to complete the picture in their mind,” explains Stu Watkin, the illustrator behind Oshe.
“I’ve always enjoyed the simplification of images and think some of the reason behind that sits with the posters promoting the Liverpool Overhead Railway and Parisian nightlife which adorned my the walls of my childhood bedroom.”
Oshe create illustrations, largely of landscapes, in a style reminiscent of 1950s travel posters: the artistic stylings of a romanticised time of travel when trips to the English Riveria, and Whitby were packaged. All that’s missing from Stu’s illustrations are the words Visit Bristol, and one would be transported back.
Based in Windmill Hill, many of Stu’s existing artworks are of Bristol; the Lido, the Floating Harbour and the Balloon Fiesta are frequent inspirations.
Bristol is such a good looking place both naturally and architecturally, so it only seemed right to try and include both in my featured art,” says Stu.
He chose the subject for the piece because of his love for rivers: “They always seem to lead us off. Plus the view includes the spectacular Avon Gorge, Clifton Suspension Bridge, and Bristol’s best picnic spot.”
Originally from Chester, then drawn to Exeter for the beauty of the West Country, Stu was inspired to move to Bristol thanks to its strong artistic community. He says that the city is “like a giant crucible of creativity – all the creatives I meet are so open and willing to share ideas which is really uplifting”.
A few years ago, a framed print of Portishead Lido was likened to Hockney’s depictions of LA. In Stu’s mind, there’s no higher praise.