Day Barry, ‘Octopus’ Garden’, 2020
Acrylic on cotton board, 30 x 22 inches.
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Day Barry weaves together a multitude of influences – music, colour, fabrics and fashion – in his vibrant paintings, which celebrate the multicultural city of Birmingham. In his most recent series, he blends together motifs from Nigerian fabric patterns, which he buys from a stall in Birmingham Markets:
“There is such a richness of colour in the fabric and sari shops close to where I live and the abundance of these shops is a defining visual experience of Birmingham for me. The clothes people wear are obvious cultural signifiers and given Birmingham is a superdiverse place I had an idea of breaking up, mixing and merging different fabric patterns to create a sort of dialogue between differing shapes and colours”.
Barry blends his exceptional use of colour with strong graphic elements to create lyrical paintings: “There’s a deliberate mixing of patterns that don’t quite belong, maybe in the same way DJs mix beats”. And their rhythm and pace which takes life in the artist’s works, echoing Birmingham’s brilliant, beating heart.
Day Barry works from his studio at The Old Print Works in Balsall Heath. He has exhibited in the UK and Lisbon, Portugal, and has been commissioned for murals in Birmingham. He is currently working on a mural project for the NHS Woman’s hospital. Day is the co-founder of Solid Projects, an artist-run initiative seeking to showcase local artists.