BLACK Country artist Geoff Tristram is showcasing his life’s work at Himley Hall in his biggest-ever solo exhibition.
40 Years Watching Paint Dry, which opened on April 5, charts four decades of work by the Quarry Bank-born 59-year-old - best-known for his caricatures of top snooker players and his quirky cat conundrum paintings which were turned into jigsaw puzzles.
The display comprises classic portraits, caricatures that have graced the pages of national newspapers, comedy cartoons – many of which were commissioned for game manufacturer Ravensburger's humorous Best of British and What If series of jigsaw puzzles, the original cat conundrum images, children’s book illustrations, advertising campaign images and Italian landscapes.
Illustrations from Geoff’s comedy books about scatterbrained artist David Day are also thrown in along with Tristram family portraits – and some of the artist’s earliest work from his school days at Quarry Bank Junior School.
The father-of-two, who lives in Wollaston, Stourbridge, said: “It’s been quite emotional; I haven’t seen any of this stuff for years - a lot of it’s been loaned back to me by very kind people."
Geoff, who estimates he’s produced more than 5,000 paintings and 100,000-plus caricatures over his lengthy career, said: “It’s really scary how quickly it’s gone. All of a sudden I’m nearly 60 - I’m about 12 in my head.”
A keen artist since the age of four, Geoff says he feels “lucky” to have been able to carve a living out of his lifelong passion.
He added: “You’ve got to be lucky but you’ve got to be good as well.”
After studying at Wolverhampton School of Art, Geoff started out working as an illustrator at Gavin Brook Design Consultancy producing brochures and leaflets for the glass industry.
He also worked for Dudley Council’s art department, before becoming self-employed.
In the early days he rented a studio in Dudley at the HQ of Graduate Records, which led to him being asked to create the cover artwork for reggae band UB40's first two albums.
Since then his work has been seen in print and on TV across the land.
Geoff has also turned a host of famous faces and sporting stars into caricatures including Jonathan Ross, Ant and Dec, David Beckham, Wolves legend Steve Bull, cricketer Ian Botham and former England football team captain Alan Shearer who even called in at the artist's home to pose for a pre-painting photo shoot.
He has also created artwork for postage stamps - and has sketched most of the world's top snooker players as part of his work for Embassy.
The exhibition runs until Sunday September 7 and is free to visit. The Dudley Council run venue is open from 2pm to 5pm every day - except Mondays.