Number 11 is a work of art

Birmingham’s famous number 11 bus has inspired a song (by The Woodbines in 1999), a dance (Kenneth Reid from the Birmingham Scottish country dance group created a dance based on the Outer Circle) and at least one novel (it features in West Midlands author Jonathan Coe’s recent satirical bestseller “Number 11”).

Now the iconic bus has been immortalised in paint. 

A self-taught Birmingham artist has held a world premiere exhibition showing his latest transport paintings at the very Birmingham bus garage that inspired him.

National Express West Midlands invited Christopher Holloway from West Bromwich along to their busy Acocks Green garage. He showed off three of his recently created oil paintings to the hundreds of staff who drive and look after the number 11 buses featured in these original new works.

All the paintings feature buses operating at various locations on Birmingham’s famous number 11 Outer Circle bus route. 2016 has been the 90th anniversary of the number 11, which recently took back (from Coventry) its title of Europe’s longest bus route. 

Christopher was joined at the exhibition by his son Phillip, who has been a bus driver at Acocks Green for the past three years. Phillip said:

“It was a very proud moment for me to introduce my dad and his colourful paintings to my colleagues. Of course, I always thought his paintings were good, but it was great to hear so many other people agree with me. Some people even thought that they were photographs rather than paintings, and everyone was wondering if it was them in the driver’s cab at that moment.”

With the original artwork now up for sale, Chris has also produced numerous prints and notecards from these and the many other transport paintings he produces throughout the year.

Published 15th December 2016