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Sheffield Legends plaque - Joe Scarborough, painter (installed 2008)

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Sheffield Legends plaque - Joe Scarborough, painter (installed 2008)
Alex Ekins

Joe Scarborough was an artist of international repute. Born in Pitsmoor, Sheffield in 1938, the artist created a wealth of everyday 'real' images depicting the life and people of South Yorkshire using his own experiences and background.

Joe began work as a laboratory assistant at Batchelors and then became a face worker at the Thorpe Hesley Colliery. He was inspired to paint by the contrast of the darkness of the mines against the lightness of the real world above ground level. In 1968 disenchantment with the pits he became a Jack of all Trades. He was a labourer, municipal park gardener and a washer upper for some years, whilst nurturing a dream to be a full-time painter.

For years he pushed a hand cart, packed with paintings round all his local pubs selling what he could in almost folk-lore tradition - becoming at times, like the characters he went on to portray in later scenes. His paintings were popular and sold, sometimes for as much as £10 - an encouragement that led to his life-long dream being realised.

His first one-man show lasted for two years at the Attic Cafe near Sheffield's main bus station. One-man and mixed exhibitions followed which took the everyday scenes of Yorkshire life from Sheffield to Rotherham to London to San Francisco to Chicago and back of course to his first love, Sheffield. Scarborough paintings went on to appear in several major collections and numerous works were imprinted. Joe's largest work dominates the entrance to the Odeon Cinema in Sheffield - a mural depicting the history of Sheffield. The vibrant colours compete with action packed visual narratives of the subjects and scenes portrayed in all Scarborough paintings.

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