Will the Wheel Trim Shady please stand up?

Stockport-born artist Nick Entwistle reinvents the wheel trim for Stockport Town of Culture

Will the Wheel Trim Shady please stand up?

A Stockport-born artist has breathed new life into a frequently discarded object to showcase in a huge art installation for the Stockport Town of Culture Creative Weekender.

His wheely colourful pieces are currently on display in an exhibition at the Stockport War Memorial Art Gallery, as a warm-up to the larger, outdoor installation at Merseyway, which will be part of events and celebrations happening across the town centre at the Stockport Town of Culture Weekender on 23 and 24 March.

Councillor Frankie Singleton, Cabinet Member for Communities, Culture & Sport at Stockport Council, said: “Stockport has such a wealth of creative and artistic talent and it’s wonderful to see such everyday objects, which could be thrown away as waste once they are lost or broken, turned into such bright and colourful works of art by local artists and community organisations.”

Nick, 35, from Bredbury, started the side-project after spotting a discarded wheel trim by the side of the road and saw it as an opportunity to combine his love of art and cars in a unique way. He began to look out for more to paint in his free time and soon found that it was a way to improve his mental well-being by providing a creative escape from the stressful world of social media and advertising - the industry that he has worked in for over 14 years.

Aside from his art, Nick is an award-winning Creative Director, responsible for viral campaigns for the likes of WWF and the NHS. He also runs a thriving creative community called One Minute Briefs and has 150,000+ followers across his various social channels.

Nick began to see more potential in the wheel trim project and created an Instagram page featuring a gallery of his final photographed pieces, along with pictures and video reels documenting the behind-the-scenes progress of each piece of artwork.

As the project grew, so did the need for more hubcaps. Nick put a call-out on the ‘Stockport For Sale or Swap’ Facebook page to see if anyone had any lying around in their garages or sheds. Milesmore Tyres, of Hazel Grove, got in touch to say they had a huge stockpile of wheel trims that could be transformed.

As the project gathered momentum on social media, Stockport Town of Culture did a shout-out offering support for creative commissions that could engage the local community and Nick shared his ideas to grow the campaign, joining forces with the local art community to create a stunning piece of up-cycled wall art out of something unwanted.

Nick, a former Stockport College student, said: “With every project I do, I think of a line that someone once said to me…’What’s the best that could happen?

“I believed I could turn a silly art project, that my mates thought I was mad for doing, into something much bigger. I invited local artists to take part and paint a wheel trim and was blown away by the response. From ceramics, to poetry, from acrylic paint to collage, you’ll find that each wheel trim has a unique design and its own personality. I even hope that one day Eminem, the Real Slim Shady, will do a piece of art to share as part of our exhibit!

“As momentum grew, I was even invited to decorate the main stage with the art at the British Motor Show. It’s been hard work to get this far, but the huge support of Stockport Council, the local art scene and trades has been incredible.”

Local art groups including GRIT Studios, Stockport Art Guild and Vernon Mill Artists have all submitted wheel trim artwork for this Creative Commission, but it’s not just Stockport artists that have taken part.

Local community organisations have also been involved, including Pursuing Individual Excellence, which had their young people take part in a workshop hosted by Nick, as did Make Build Grow, whose SEND young people were able to show off their love of cats through art. And, to encourage people to check for lumps in support of Breast Cancer Now, Linda Kirwin created a breast-themed wheel trim.

Once completed, each wheel trim created by the art and community organisations is finished off with a coat of lacquer donated by Rooney’s Body Shop.

Wheel trims created by Nick, local groups and artists will be exhibited in the huge external installation at Chestergate Taxi Rank, built with help from FenceWays, in time for the Town of Culture Weekender, featuring exclusive collaborations with various local artists.

You can currently see a selection of the wheel trims on display at Stockport War Memorial Art Gallery, along with a taster of some of the other Stockport Town of Culture Creative Commissions.

Check out the full album on Instagram.