Sunderland’s creative scene is flourishing, and the city boasts more artists’ studios than ever before, allowing creatives to develop their talents, build careers and inspire communities.
From Hills Arts Centre and Breeze Creatives in The Athenaeum building to the recent announcement that The Norfolk Hotel is set to be transformed into studios, historic buildings across the city centre have been and continue to be repurposed to provide unique environments for creatives to thrive.
And let’s not forget the work underway to build Culture House, a multi-purpose venue that will stand at the heart of the Riverside Sunderland development combining a city library with space for arts and crafts, learning, exhibitions and more.
Sunderland is a city for creatives. And on that note, here’s 13 you might not know about.
1. Kathryn Robertson - KR Illustrates
The artist behind many of the striking cityscape murals on display in venues across Sunderland. Kathryn Robertson is an illustrator and muralist – working from her studio in the
Sunniside quarter of the city - whose hand-drawn art depicts the illustrious history of Sunderland, showcasing a condensed visual of the city often with a single colour
running through it.
Featuring Wearside landmarks from the Empire Theatre to the Stadium of Light, Kathryn’s work can be found in the likes of Vaux Taproom and the University of Sunderland. She has also worked on the SAFC season card campaign, several community projects across the city and, most recently, was headhunted by Sunderland-born Dave Stewart to illustrate artwork to accompany his newest album, Ebony McQueen. Photo: submitted
2. Faye Greenman
Based out of The Athenaeum building on Fawcett Street ran by visual arts organisation Breeze Creatives, Faye Greenman is an abstract artist who creates one-off canvas paintings, hand-painted clothing items and digital prints. Her expressive and impactful art reflects emotions, whether that’s thought-provoking written messages, splatter and drip painting techniques or conceptual shapes. Photo: submitted
3. Alex Middleton
Working as a graphic designer for Sunderland AFC for almost 12 years, Alex Middleton has worked on some exciting projects from the 21/22 Sunderland home shirt design, a crowd mosaic based on the black cats’ eyes graphic, and helped with the branding in the Wembley dressing room during the playoff final that saw the club promoted to the
Championship. He’s also an artist in his own right and worked on the numerals for the Nike England Kits which were worn at the UEFA Euro 2020. Photo: submitted
4. Sarah Metcalfe – Maneiro
Sarah set up Maneiro with her partner Ben during the first lockdown, an online print and design store specialising in North East themed retro prints and hand poured
candles. From a postcard themed ‘Greetings from Sunlun’ print to handmade ‘Areet’ candles, Maneiro can also be found at Tynemouth Market at weekends. Photo: submitted