A PENSIONER who switched science for art is preparing for a one man show after first being inspired by pop culture painter David Hockney more than 50 years ago.

Brian Parker retired as a science engineer and has spent the past decade painting scenes such as Southend beaches and the Cliff Train.


Scenic - the Cliff Train


Artwork - the Southend beach huts

His work can now go for more than £1,000-a-piece

The 69 year old from Hockley, explained: “It was at South Essex College when I first realised I had a flair for art. I started an access course to pursue a degree in fine art, and recognised my talent after I’d received fantastic feedback from my tutors and peers- it was this that convinced me I have a talent and I recognised my unique way of looking at the world and how that’s reflected in my art.

“However, I chose to drop the course in favour of science after the first year. I thought, at least I’ll eat that way. Science seemed like the more reliable option and I knew when I had time I would go back to pursue art- now I do have that time and it’s definitely paid off.

“My father was artistic, so I guess you could say it’s in my blood- he taught himself how to play his instruments and he did drawing.

“I’ve always been involved in the arts and creativity- I’ve been in dance troops, I’ve sang, I was in a band for five years, and have always painted and drawn.”

Brian has hosted several solo exhibitions in Southend and Leigh, but is looking to get his name out there in the city. He will be hosting his first solo exhibition in London, where his paintings of the seafront, Southend’s beach huts, the cliff lift and a number of locally inspired works will be on show.

He helped direct exhibitions in the 1960s and became friends with David Hockney who was an influence on him.

Brian has also been selected for this year’s Art on A Postcard 2019, a secret auction which is held in aid of The Hepatitis C Trust. The auction also includes the work of Damien Hirst, Gavin Turk, Peter Blake and Grayson Perry.

The visual artist continued: “Painting is my second career; I paint every day and when I’m not painting I’m travelling to London.

“This is such an achievement and I’m very proud to have caught their eye.

“At the auction, those who attend don’t know whose work is what, they know the names of the artists but not what they created, and then bids are placed. To even be associated with the auction and that level of artistry is amazing.

“I will be showing work from the beginning of my career until now at the exhibition, as this is like the launch my career.”

The exhibition, The Journey So Far- My World, My Vision and Me, will run at The Royal Opera Arcade (ROA) Gallery from October 7 until October 12.