99 Luftballons featured artist Andrew Heathcote

Featuring around 300 pieces this years Oldham Open is one of our most popular to date. This years entries range from intricate hand crafted wooden jewellery to paintings, sculpture and large scale models. The remarkable array of mediums, techniques and styles used demonstrates the talents and skills of local artists and craftspeople from the Borough of Oldham.

To celebrate the opening of the Oldham Open we will be featuring a number of our exhibiting artists as guest bloggers, telling us a little about themselves and their work.

The next fantastic artist to feature as a guest blogger is…

Name: Andrew Heathcote

Title of piece(s): 99 Luftballoons

Please give a brief introduction about yourself and your work
My name is Andrew and I work at Gallery Oldham as a Visitor Experience assistant. I have been a keen photographer since my teens. This is the fourth time I have entered the Oldham Open.

Can you tell me about the work you submitted? What was the inspiration for the piece? Is this your usual style? What techniques and materials have you used and why?
The photograph I have submitted for the 2017 open is called 99 Luft balloons, Luft is the German word for Air, as seen on the music on the photograph which was a song by a German pop singer called Nina in 1989. It was taken at the Lydgate whit Friday brass band contest in Saddleworth.

This is slightly different to my usual style in that it came from an idea I had before I went to the contest. I would usually take photographs of the bands before they perform as well as the crowds watching and try to capture the atmosphere as a whole. In this instance I thought I would wait and see what happened after the performance. This particular band played their set piece and then left their instruments along the pub wall with the balloons and set the scene for me.

I use a digital bridge camera which is between a compact and a full 35mm camera. It has a fixed lens rather than a interchangeable one. I adjusted the exposure slightly and used a wider angled view.
Other then a slight enhancement ,the picture is untouched, and was enlarged to 16×12 inches and professionally printed.


Are there any other creative mediums you would love to pursue but haven’t yet?
Not really, I’m happy exploring photography.

What does ‘being creative’ mean to you?
To me being creative is seeing the possibility of a photograph and producing the finished image

Are you working on anything else at the moment?
I am beginning to create a portfolio of photographs of local scenes for use as a range of postcards

What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you couldn’t make your work without?
A good digital camera and an eye for detail and an understanding of what will make an interesting picture

When you’re not busy creating what do you like doing in your spare time? Any other hobbies or interests?
At the moment I am involved in researching local history for my local residents group in Lydgate.

Which other artists do you admire or inspire your work? (famous or not!)
I have always admired the work of Shirley Baker (1932-2014), Shirley was born in Salford and from an early age began to catalogue the changing face of inner city Salford. The black and white images she took of everyday scenes in the fifties and sixties are an amazing time capsule of a people and places long gone.                        

 What would people be surprised to find out about you?
I am fan of old British comedy films from the 1930s onwards, in particular, Will Hay.

Many artists feel they could work on their pieces for ever more. How do you know when a work is finished?
I don’t believe in overworking an image using computer software. I will download my images on to my laptop and possibly crop, clean and enhance slightly if necessary other than that I tend to be happy.

And lastly, do you have any inspiring tips or words to share with everyone?
Whatever you do, be happy with what you do!

The Oldham Open is on until 18 November, be sure to visit to see Andrew’s work and all of the other submitting artists and makers.