Acheson’s Hopper homage draws a fresh comparison between Manchester and NY.

Acheson’s Hopper homage draws a fresh comparison between Manchester and NY.

It’s a similarity that hasn’t gone unnoticed by film directors, Manchester’s Northern Quarter has often been used as a stand-in for the Big Apple, with many of the streets used as a backdrop for Manhattan.


Nighthawks, Edward Hopper

Now artist Chris Acheson is the next photorealist to visually quote the comparison with his own homonymous piece. His Nighthawks is following a long line of artists who have found inspiration from Edward Hopper’s most famous work, one of the most recognizable paintings in American art.

 Photorealists such as Ralph Goings and Richard Estes have referenced Hopper and in the early 80’s Gottfried Helnwein painted Boulevard of Broken Dreams, replacing Hopper’s patrons with American pop culture icons Humphrey Bogart, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean and the attendant with Elvis Presley.


Ralph’s Diner, Ralph Goings.


Even the Simpsons have referenced the piece and now Chris Acheson has tipped his hat, cleverly to both Nighthawks and the parallels Manchester shares with Hopper’s setting in Manhattan. Acheson and Hopper both have been influenced by film and pop culture with critics noting the resemblance of Hopper’s piece to film stills and as an influence to Film Noir, Acheson saying of his own work:


 “Of my many inspirations, Cinema and Music are often at the forefront and have helped to fuel my work and have suggested starting points. The cinematic influence provides the visual treatment of a painting, as I seek to give the impression of a painted film still


 Nighthawks, Chris Acheson

 Acheson’s piece like Hopper’s, captures the anonymous and uncommunicative nature of a late night city, replacing the diner setting with one of Manchester’s modern trams but echoing the original’s composition structure. With both pieces the viewer is drawn to the Subtleties of light and shadow (a cornerstone of both artists work) but shut out from the scene by the glass of the windows.

 Acheson’s previous work also draws similar parallels with Hopper. His ‘Mannequin Series’ a set of intricate and sensual oil paintings inspired by the style of 1970’s band Roxy Music (who took song names and influences from film noir) have a similar decadence and sophistication.

Life In Tokyo, Chris Acheson

 These pieces sit comfortably alongside the ‘future noir’ look of films such as ‘Blade Runner’ (director Ridley Scott used Hopper’s Nighthawks as a reference) and 1998’s ‘Dark City’ where the circle of influence returns with critic Roger Ebert noting that the film had “store windows that owe something to Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks.”


 Dark City (film Still) 1998

 View the full portfolio of Chris Acheson