Bright Lights, Big City – Manchester on Canvas

Bright Lights, Big City – Manchester on Canvas

Matt Wilde takes us on a guided tour of the best and the greatest from Manchester’s past and present. So grab your paint brush and let art lead the way.

paintings of manchester art tour matt wilde artzu art gallery

Matt Wilde’s Manchester Art Tour

No 1: Vinyl Revival, ‘Love Spreads the Word’

Manchester Art Tour Matt Wilde ARTZU Manchester Art Gallery

Love Spreads the Word, £750

Manchester’s contemporary history has to begin with music. We live it, breathe it and are the best at creating it.  ‘Love Spreads the Word’ is Matt Wilde’s homage to those remarkable Manchester bands that have crystallised the sound of the city into something great. From the 60’s to the present day you can find them all in the well hewn stands at Vinyl Revival, along with the colourful characters who spin those tunes today.



No 2:  Soup Kitchen, ‘Soups Up’

Manchester Art Tour Matt Wilde ARTZU Manchester Art Gallery

Soups Up

To hear Manchester beats live, there’s no better hipster venue than Soup Kitchen. For literal underground sounds, head down from their well-loved communal style kitchen to the basement, and like Matt Wilde’s urban crowd, hang out in one of the most indispensable music spaces in the city.




No 3:  Night & Day, ‘Night & Day’

Manchester Art Tour Matt Wilde ARTZU Manchester Art Gallery

Night & Day, £1900.    Print, £99

A chip shop which transformed into another brilliant music venue, Night & Day is the iconic place where many of Manchester’s greatest bands began their career. In Matt Wilde’s rendition, Tim Burgess from the Charlatans is sat nonchalantly with his Piccadilly Records bag. The whole band signed the painting, and the white of Burgess’ T-shirt was cut from an envelope he threw into the crowd at a concert Wilde attended.  All proceeds from the sale of this original painting and its prints will go to the Brain Tumour Charity.


No 4:  Vinyl Exchange / The Fig and Sparrow, ‘Vinyl Exchange’

art tour manchester artzu art gallery manchester matt wilde

Vinyl Exchange, £950

There’s something delicately beautiful but robust about a sparrow and probably a fig. The two lovely ladies who own this venue have created a space where Matt Wilde’s characters can head after musing through the eclectic record collections of Vinyl Exchange. So park up your bike and grab a coffee whilst you think about your next creative endeavour.



No 5:  Piccadilly, ‘Piccadilly Sandwich’

Manchester art tour matt wilde artzu gallery art gallery manchester

Piccadilly Sandwich, £2300

Leaving or arriving the city? You can still see Manchester’s musical heart pulsing on the billboards, even though we’re heading into more bookish territory.





No 6:  Manchester Central Library, ‘Bright Lights, Big City’, ‘Glow #3’

tour manchester through paintings from matt wilde Artzu Gallery art gallery

Glow #3, Sold

art tour of manchester by artzu gallery and matt wilde

Bright Lights Big City, £1600

Beautifully renovated over four years, in time and on budget, to display the Mancunian knack for industry as well as creativity. Matt Wilde’s Central Library is an illumination to behold, lighting up the grand and egalitarian ideals of a people who were the first to provide a public library after the passing of the Public Libraries Act in 1850


No 7:  Manchester Town Hall,

Manchester Town Hall, painting art tour matt wilde artzu art gallery

City’s Best Sweeper, £850

Just round the corner we have Manchester Town Hall by Alfred Waterhouse, another great civic building. Matt Wilde’s ‘Best Sweeper’ is looked over by a monument to Prince Albert, but the regal figure never repressed the fighting spirit of Mancunians. A few streets away The Peterloo Massacre of 1819 took place.

According to Nick Mansfield, director of the People’s History Museum in Salford, “Peterloo is a critical event not only because of the number of people killed and injured, but because ultimately it changed public opinion to influence the extension of the right to vote and give us the democracy we enjoy today. It was critical to our freedoms.”

No 8:  Spinningfields, The Avenue, ‘Rock Down To’

The avenue Spinningfields Manchester painting matt wilde artzu gallery

Rock Down To, £2300

Capturing the bustle of the city’s brokers and financiers, Matt Wilde guide’s us into Manchester’s commercial heart where Spinningfields takes it’s name from a narrow street which ran westwards from Deansgate.




No 9:  Spinningfields, Hardman Square, ‘April Fields’

The Lawn Club Hardman Square Spinningfields painting by matt wilde

April Fields, £2300

Further into Spinningfields the Law and order of Manchester Magistrates Court was replaced in 2006 by Mancunians sipping beer and wine in Hardman Square – and yes we do have sun and deck chairs here in the North!




No 10:  Manchester Central, ‘Glow #2’

Manchester Central, G mex Manchester Central Railway Station painting art gallery artzu

Glow #2, Sold

The corporate folk of Spinningfields need an events space, and that’s what the reclaimed 64m arched roof of the old Manchester Central Railway Station provides. By night Matt Wilde makes Manchester Central glow with the status of a city reinvented.




No 11:  The Hilton, Beetham Tower,

Beetham Tower the Hilton Manchester painting Matt Wilde ARTZU art Gallery

Say Hello to The Beetham

A regular fixture in Matt’s paintings, his character reads beneath the height and howling of Beetham Tower, Manchester’s tallest building. As weather dictates, the tower’s moods will swing from angry to quietly at ease, and can be followed @AngryBeetham and @HappyBeetham




No 12:  Castlefield Bridge, ‘Glow’

Castlefield painting matt wilde artzu art gallery Manchester

Glow #1, Sold

Duck beneath the urban cool of a city bridge at night and leave Beetham in the background.





No 13:  Old Cornerhouse, ‘Shine On’

ARTZU_Wilde_Shine On 71x178cm

Shine On, £2500

Make tracks to follow the trains from Deansgate to Oxford Road and reminisce on what was once the home of Manchester’s Arty Cornerhouse. The title says it all – Shine On.




No 14:  Piccadilly Train Station, ‘Making Tracks’

Piccadilly train station manchester painting artzu arrt gallery

Making Tracks, £2500. Prints £120

Time to head home unless your Made of Stone. Matt Wilde’s habitual character grabs that Manchester institution, the MEN, for the ride.

Safe journey!