Bradford artist Paul Town to exhibit artwork from Dunfermline Euro

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The stories of some of Athletic’s biggest European nights will be told in artistic form at an exhibition in the East End tomorrow.

And, for the man behind the paintings, putting his passion for football and the stadiums of yesteryear on has helped him cope with the trauma of one of Britain’s worst sporting disasters.

Bradford-born Paul Town, who visited Dunfermline five years ago to present a portrait to the club commissioned by fan Kenny Mitchell, will present a trilogy of artwork telling the story of epic Fairs Cities Cup victories against Everton and Valencia, and the 1969 European Cup Winners’ Cup Semi-Final with Slovan Bratislava, before the match with Morton.

The exhibition was originally scheduled for last year by Dunfermline Athletic Heritage Trust directors Donald Adamson and Kenny McLachlan, but has been postponed due to COVID-19.

These original works of art, along with paintings by Roy Barry and Norrie McCathie, were on loan for the event, which takes place in the Purvis Suite between 10:30 am and 11:30 am, by their owners.

The work of Paul, who rose to fame among football fans since his company was founded after around 30 years of working in the construction industry, helped him find release after the Bradford City fire in 1985.

The tragedy saw 56 fans lose their lives as the Valley Parade main stand caught fire, from which Paul and his father managed to escape.

“I did a lot of sketching when I was younger, when I was in school, and my mom would come over and look at her and ask why do you sketch football all the time? I said well, because that’s what I like, ”Paul told Press Sport.

“Football is my hobby, and that’s basically where it all started.

“The artistic side of my life kind of left me 25-30 years old because I started working in the construction industry and I didn’t have time for it. About 10 years ago I started doodling again, just to get out of my normal life for a bit, just to relax, and my mom bought me some paintings for Christmas.

“When I opened the gift, I said, ‘What am I supposed to do with it? And she said, ‘Well, start painting’!

“I was suffering from a lot of anxiety as a result of the disaster I was involved in at Bradford and it gave me flashbacks. I never could put my finger on what it was but I was not really well.

“I just used the paint as a little liberation to take my mind off things, then the most natural thing for me to paint was sports themes.”

Paul, who revealed that Big Country – which was led by the late Stuart Adamson, himself a huge Pars fan – was his favorite teenage band, continued, “With social media you meet more than people online, people learn what you do, and obviously with Dunfermline, this is Kenny Mitchell that I first met.

“I think the first portrait I did was of the Anderlecht match, a night scene. That got the ball rolling and then Kenny got in touch and said, can you paint a portrait of Martin Hardie’s goal against Raith, so I said yes. He said can you come to Dunfermline and introduce him to the club, which I did, and that kind of got the ball rolling.

“I met Kenny Mclachlan and Jason Barber that day and then it snowballed from there. Dunfermline has become my Scottish team now.

“I think people seem to gravitate towards style and what that means, first of all what it means to me to paint them, and how the paintings look.

“I think the Scots seem to be more passionate about the game to some extent. I think in England it seems a bit more commercialized.

“I could paint any Scottish club to break into the fan market there, and you can guarantee they’ll be in there in no time.”

Paul added, “I had a vision when I was very young that I wanted this. I sometimes have to pinch myself that this is happening because I wasn’t particularly blessed in school. I was a little bit dreamy, but more and more I look back now, when I was in school, I was probably looking out the window, I was looking out the window, the world artistically.

“We would drive to football games with my dad, and I would see the stadiums from the outside, and I would look at the stadiums and I was like, ‘I would love to draw that’, but I never made it.

“I think back to my school years now and how I thought as a teenager, and obviously with the Bradford fire, football stadium safety made it so much worse.

“First of all, escaping from a booth when it’s on fire was a traumatic thing. But losing a booth so quickly – sitting in it a minute, and four minutes later, there is none. had more, basically – obviously it seems a little selfish to the point we lost 56 fans that day, but the flip side was that a lot of people really liked this structure and it was taken away from you so quickly.

“It was the flip side, the fascination with the football stadiums and the security aspect, then the fascination with the lost football stadiums because we lost the Bradford grandstand and the pitch was rebuilt beyond all else. what it is today. ”

Paul will have 50 limited edition Norrie McCathie prints – of the legendary Pars skipper celebrating a goal at St Mirren in an iconic image – on sale tomorrow.

You can see and learn more about Paul’s work by visiting his website, https://www.stadiumportraits.com; his Facebook page, Stadium Portraits by Paul Town; or by following him on Twitter at @StadePortrait

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