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The Sheffield culture guide written by in-the-know locals

Andrew Hunt

Andrew Hunt is a Sheffield-based painter who, in his very distinctive way, catches people in a moment, whether with a friend, an animal (pigeons, dogs and horses feature heavily), a pint or a cigarette. They're often quiet, seemingly fleeting moments – scenes that most others might fail to notice but that are full of tenderness and life.

Andrew's latest project is Portraits from the Market, a series of huge, extremely detailed studies of some of the faces that he encountered while spending time at the Moor Market with photographer Chris Saunders. Fans of the BBC series Peaky Blinders will have seen his work too – he painted the portraits of Cillian Murphy that hang on the walls in his character Tommy Shelby's Arrow Hall.

Here Andrew tells us more about his work and his love of Sheffield.

How would you describe your work?
My work is figurative or portrait based, very often with a strong emphasis on narrative, however I've recently delved into the world of hyper-realism with my latest Sheffield show.

What inspires you?
I love all forms of art. Painting is my thing, so art galleries are transcendental experiences. Through social media I have connected to artists all over the world – it's great to see who's out there and what's new.

What are you currently working on?
My new show at Yorkshire Artspace is called Portraits from the Market – large hyper-real paintings of people taken from one day at Sheffield's Moor Market. It's a collaboration with the hugely talented photographer Chris Saunders.

What is your workspace like?
Usually my studio (amongst the smallest at Yorkshire Artspace) is cluttered and strewn with the detritus of my pursuits – out of chaos comes order. But for the duration of my exhibition I have moved to the gallery space to demonstrate my working techniques and will probably stage a sit-in when the show finishes.

What do you love about Sheffield?
Where to start. Moved here in 1996. Did my degree in Jane Austen's playground, the city of Bath. Not for me. Moved back up north (was brought up in north Wales) and found Sheffield a breath of fresh air. Love the strong sense of community, great local people. It's diverse, it's got a cool vibe helped by the two universities, and the bucolic Pennine landscape reminds me of Wales. It's perfect.

What would you do to improve the city?
It's pretty cool already. There are already tons of green spaces in this city, but maybe the city centre needs a bit of work. I'm not sure reshaping it for the benefit of retail is the right idea. We have a cultural industry quarter – maybe it should be in the centre. More and more of us are shopping online and the big retailers with their greedy venture capitalists are beginning to look over-stretched. Rather than make our city look like all the others I'd make it look different.

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