From dodging scraps with Ozzy Osbourne to fine art - painter unveils Brummie inspiration for new exhibition
BirminghamWorld caught up with artist Stephen Rea, a retired Jewellery Quarter jeweller, as his latest works are exhibited at the Lux Gallery in Edgbaston
He survived the mean streets of Birmingham back in the 1970s as a member of the local Mod scene, dodging scraps with the likes of world famous rocker Ozzy Osbourne, no less.
Now artist Stephen Rea has spoken about the Brummie inspiration behind his paintings which are currently being exhibited at Lux Gallery on Greenfield Crescent in Edgbaston.
His work has previously been on show at The Royal Birmingham Society Of Artists, The Broadway Arts Festival and in private collections around the world.
In Stephen’s latest exhibition you will find some well known faces as never seen before - with Winson Churchill, Freddie Mercury and Jimi Hendrix reinterpreted in colourful style - uniquely interpreting the characteristics that made them larger than life.
Stephen began painting as a teenager, but left it to pursue business interests in Birmingham’s most treasured trade - jewellery.
He ran jewellery stores in the Jewellery Quarter - called No 1 Jewellery, on Warstone Lane for almost 40 years - and in Redditch.
His inspirations for the canvas run far and wide from a host of Brummie heritage - from his younger days on the Birmingham Mod scene - raiding medicine cabinets at house parties along with narrowly escaping those scraps with Ozzy Osbourne - to admiring the Pre-Raphaelite collection at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.
BirminghamWorld caught up with Stephen at his home in Barnt Green as he prepared for his latest exhibition.
He said: “I remember Ozzy when he worked in the meat factory. They were different days back then.
“Who would have known he would become so successful. It’s brilliant. I was on the Mod scene and we were often avoiding getting into scrapes with Ozzy and his pals.
“I started painting as a teenager, but then got into business - selling jewellery, with a shop in the Jewellery Quarter and one in Redditch.
“Painting is my passion. It’s been fantastic to get my work exhibited and had so many commissions.
“I particularly admire the pre-Raphaelites. Seeing those collections at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery as a youngster was so inspiring.
“It’s great to see how Birmingham has developed over the years. The Commonwealth Games was a real game changer and Digbeth is so enterprising.”
Stephen honed his craft with classes in portrait and landscape at the RBSA and Bournville School Of Art.
Let’s take a look at some of his work: