Bar Opus to exhibit works by Black Country urban photographer

A self-taught photographer who captures the gritty, urban side of the Black Country is to have his works exhibited in Bar Opus, one of Birmingham’s best independent city bars, launching on the 9th April.

Tom Hicks, whose ongoing project Black Country Type highlights the area’s unique identity through images of signage, words and graffiti, is the seventh artist to be featured at the bar at One Snowhill as part of its programme to support local talent.

He has selected 10 pieces of colour photography, including the metal gates of Shelby Metals in Cradley Heath and a warehouse in Brierley Hill, to be featured on the bar’s large wall.

The visual arts specialist, who is the Faculty of Arts Librarian at the University of Wolverhampton, has spent the past 18 months taking photographs on his iPhone 6 whenever he has been cycling.

After posting the images on Instagram, and gaining a loyal following, he was invited to exhibit at the Birmingham Design Festival and the Birmingham Midland Institute.

“When I’m out and about on my bike, I often divert my route to go somewhere I’ve not been to before and see what I can photograph. I don’t use Photoshop so all my images are exactly as I took them, using natural light,” he said.

“I like finding features and landscapes that people miss or don’t really look at. There’s beauty in old shop signs and graffiti but there’s so much going on around us that we tend to miss them or don’t appreciate them.

“I’m looking forward to exhibiting at Bar Opus, it’s great they are showcasing emerging artists. If my pictures make people stop and think for a few minutes, I’ve done my job.

Irene Allen, director, said: “Our exhibitions so far have showcased different types of art and we are delighted with Tom’s photographs that capture the post-industrial Black Country. There’s real beauty to Tom’s photographs and we know our customers will love them – and maybe recognise some of the landmarks.”

For more information on Bar Opus, visit
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