IF you would have told Christopher Shaw when he visited Warrington Museum and Art Gallery aged 10 that 22 years later he would have his first largescale exhibition here, he probably wouldn’t have believed you.

The Bridgewater High and Warrington Collegiate student has come full circle bringing ‘Patiently Waiting’ to the forefront until June 26.

His work features about 50 paintings and represents about six years of work.

His mum was one of the first people to see her son’s talent and was always encouraging him to be creative.

However, Christopher was not convinced the professional art world was for him until he spent some time in Toronto 12 years ago and became immersed in the street art scene there.

That inspired him to go to Leeds Arts University, the only specialist arts university in the north of England, when he returned to the UK.

Christopher, from Appleton, has continued to paint almost every day since graduating and his patience has now been rewarded with recognition on his doorstep.

Some of Christophers work

Some of Christopher's work

It is the first event at the museum since late 2020 as the Grade II-listed building has just reopened after pandemic restrictions followed by essential roof repairs.

Two other temporary exhibitions have been launched at the same time – Ruby Tingle’s Lagoons and Steve Sutton’s Precarious Existence.

“I’ve been saying to people it kind of feels really weird – it’s as if someone has cut the top of my head off and everyone’s standing around and looking into my mind,” Christopher said at the launch.

“I thought I’d be quite nervous about it but it’s been a good event so far and it’s nice that I’m sharing the spotlight with a couple of other artists.

“When you think of galleries the first thing that comes into your mind is that it’s a place for established artists but what I admire about Culture Warrington (the charity that runs the museum) is it gives a chance to people like me who are just starting out on their journey.

“The support has been amazing. It’s great to have somewhere like this on my doorstep to showcase my work. I’m really grateful for the opportunity.

“There is also an art gallery in town called Technically Brilliant where people can submit their artwork and all this support has started to create a bit of a community. A lot of Warrington artists are coming out of the woodwork now.”

Christopher’s work draws from his own experiences, classic stories like Alice in Wonderland, pop culture and even ancient artefacts while his style is influenced by Francis Bacon, known for his unsettling imagery.

His exhibition can be seen until June 26

His exhibition can be seen until June 26

He added: “When I started out I was always attracted to the darker themes in art. For example, Francis Bacon is one of my idols.

“I used to go to art galleries and see landscapes and still life paintings and nothing really resonated with me until I saw Francis Bacon’s work.

“They’re really quite simple but it made me feel a certain way which I hadn’t felt with a piece of art until then.”

Indeed, how art makes you feel has become an important aspect of Christopher’s work because for him it has been a form of therapy.

“That’s where I got part of my style from but also everyone goes through dark periods in their life,” he said.

“There have been times where I’ve suffered from mental health issues and depression and that gave me different ideas in terms of imagery.

“Art has helped me get through some tough moments. It’s allowed me to take a positive from a negative.

“I’m hoping that will give me the chance to look at my paintings in a different light. It’s always nice to hear other people’s perspectives.

“It’s made me feel really fortunate to have the exhibition here. I remember my mum taking me and my sisters to the museum to check it out when we first came to Warrington.

“So it feels really weird to be here now and have an art show when she was always pushing me in that direction.”