Stoke-on-Trent maybe shaken by losing out on this year’s City of Culture bid.
But there is still a silver lining – in the form of colourful maracas made for legendary Indie singer Bez!
Local artist Steve Shaw spoke to StaffsLive about how his musical artwork has given the city’s art a new dynamic.
Steve is a ceramicist and artist born in Stoke-on-Trent.
And when he isn’t creating fine art of North Staffordshire’s landscapes, he’s pursuing a retro style of music and culture.
The maracas were influenced by Steve’s positive views of the city, and also his concerns.
Speaking at Spode Works Visitor Centre, where some of his work is held, Steve said: “It was a brilliant opportunity.
“When I was at school I wanted to be an album sleeve designer.
“When I got approached to do the maracas for Bez, I thought ‘this is ideal’, combining my music influence with my artwork.
“Growing up hearing The Happy Mondays made it a dream come true.
“With it being a pair of maracas, I could do one night time and one day time.
“One is the good light of the city and the other is the more dark and concerning side.”
Prior to the maracas, Steve had drawn a host of personalities in the music industry, including each of The Beatles, Syd Barrett and Paul Weller.
Talking about how he was influenced, he added: “I grew up in the 70s.
“When I told the careers officer about becoming an album sleeve designer, I was sort of laughed at.
“With us going for the bid for City of Culture – which we unfortunately lost – I wanted something that would make people proud of the city.”
Bez received the maracas at their Birmingham O2 Institute gig as part of their 30th anniversary tour.
He said: “I’ve got a collection of maracas at home so I’ll be adding these to them. They’re brilliant!”
Stece worked in the pottery industry for more than 20 years, and emphasised how Stoke has always been a city of culture.
He added: “Losing the title hasn’t really impacted hard on me because we’ve networked, and artists have started getting together.
“It’s not such a lonely thing being a Stoke-on-Trent artist anymore, and I hope that continues.”