In the midst of a city apparently ‘devoid of  culture’, there is a close knit community of like-minded individuals doing everything they can to express their creativity and put Chester on the map.

Backed by a growing number of independent shops, galleries and bars Chester’s young artists are beginning to gain exposure through exhibitions, displays & activities throughout the  city.

One such place is Telford’s Warehouse. Renowned for good food, excellent beer and a vibrant music scene, Telford’s has also been featuring art works for the last  20 years, hung within its  gallery restaurant. The most talked about piece though has to be the stage  backdrop. Telford’s charismatic giraffe, along with his  friends in their colourful  jungle scene has been made famous by gracing the stage with the likes of Frank  Turner, Catfish & The Bottlemen and Cerys Matthews  amongst countless other internationally known musicians and has often been a bigger talking point than the acts themselves!

After 12 years Telford’s Warehouse have said farewell to their resident giraffe and friends and handed a blank canvas over to local artist and graphic designer Mike Howard.

In a bid to help raise  awareness of the immense talent that Chester has to offer, Mike Devoy, promoter at Telford’s Warehouse, has commissioned a fresh new  and contemporary piece of  artwork to accompany future musicians. He says:  “After recent visits to venues in cities such as Liverpool and Manchester I  have realised how dated  Chester has become. I want  to move Telford’s into the future and what better way  than to involve the young  artistic community at  hand.”

The painting of a new mural on the stage at Telfords Warehouse by local artist, Mike Howard. PICTURE: IAN COOPER
The painting of a new mural on the stage at Telfords Warehouse by local artist, Mike Howard. PICTURE: IAN COOPER

Mike Howard has worked professionally as a freelance  illustrator since graduating  in 2012. His work has heavily featured across the  Northwest; he has exhibited  in galleries across  Manchester, designed promotional artwork for the  likes of Liverpool based music publication Bido Lito  and he has created numerous screenprints for bands,  DJ’s and record labels. Mike  is influenced by the likes of  artists such as M C Escher, Mike Perry and Steven Harrington.

Mikes commissioned piece for Telford’s Warehouse is inspired by electronic dance music giants  Daft Punk and their feature  film ‘Interstella 5555’. Inkeeping with the nature  theme and vibrant colour  schemes of Telford’s previous artwork, this contemporary piece depicts an array of abstract creatures set  within a cove that overlooks a setting sun. A psychedelic take on the beautiful sunsets visible from Telford’s  beer garden during the  summer months.

The backdrop will stand  as a focal point when the stage is dormant and create fitting scenery for when bands play the intimate space Telford’s offers its audience.

Hundreds of photos will be taken next to some of the country’s best up and coming bands, exposing a bright future for one of Chester’s young creatives.

There was a grand unveiling at Pimp Clinic’s event on February 15.

The whole process will  also be getting videoed by local filmmaker Andrew  Lawrence and edited into a  small video for distribution online. This will then be  followed by an exhibition in  Telford’s gallery restaurant  where you will be able to buy limited number screen  prints of features from the  stage itself. Details of Mike Howard’s work can be  found on his website at