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CHASING CARS

beyond catches up with Alan Walsh, the Yorkshireman who is taking the art world by storm with his new collection of paintings, entitled Extraordinary Automotive, in a museum near the Monaco Grand Prix track and home to the car collection of the Prince of Monaco.

He once dreamed of racing cars around the roads of Monaco but Yorkshire artist Alan Walsh is now painting the town red with a career that has taken the Principality playground by storm.

Having swapped the Yorkshire Dales for the boulevards of Monaco, Walsh says he is now living the dream having settled in the French Riviera where his stunning works of art fill the homes of the rich and famous, and his gallery is a haven for art lovers from around the world.

The Harroagte-born illustrator, who raced in the same karting team as Sir Lewis Hamilton as a boy, has been building his client list over the years with his incredible artwork and his latest exhibition Extraordinary Automotive, looks set to put him on the track to even further fame and fortune.

His motorsport-inspired artwork is now in huge demand and fills the walls of Formula 1 legends like Sir Jackie Stewart, David Coulthard and George Russell.

Talking about his latest work, Alan said: “It’s a dream come true to have made it here in Monaco and as a kid who loved racing to be now living, working and exhibiting in such a prestigious setting is very special.

“It’s something that for many years I’ve worked really hard for and while I’ll never get the chance to race in the Monaco Grand Prix, doing an exhibition here as an artist is just as good, it really is.”

Walsh took inspiration from his parents as he spent his childhood travelling around racing circuits for his father’s job as a racing car builder, while his mother worked at an embroidery company, which developed his love of illustration.

As a child, he raced in the British Junior Karting Championship in 1997 and 1998 for the the Zip Young Guns, the same team as a young Sir Lewis, but found his strength lay in the world of art and for the past 20 years he has worked tirelessly to create a name for himself with his vibrant Andy Warhol/Art Deco style.

After spending a few years working as an illustrator in an advertising agency in Leeds and later Sydney, he combined his childhood passions of fashion and F1 to create a series of French Riviera-themed artworks that he showed in a small exhibition.

His work kept taking him to the Monaco Grand Prix and Walsh became so enamoured by the Cote D’Azur, he and his Australian wife Emily finally decided to make the move and settle permanently there in 2020.

A chance encounter with ex F1 driver David Coulthard who walked into his gallery during the pandemic resulted in him commissioning a piece from Alan which in turn led to a number of celebrity clients from the world of sport, showbiz and even royalty buying his art.

From that moment on, fortunes slowly began to turn and by the end of 2020 he had even tied up a deal to become the resident artist at the luxury Riviera hotel, The Martinez in Cannes.

With his latest collection, Walsh said he wanted to “combine the Riviera with a bit of a playfulness to racing.”

Among the designs are silhouettes of racing cars, bikes and women because he wanted to reflect how women can enjoy cars as well and has received rave reviews since opening.

Reflecting on his clientele, Walsh said Sir Jackie, who won three World Drivers’ Championships during his time, has been a great support.

He recalled that after he donated a painting to Sir Jackie’s charity Race Against Dementia, the driver personally commissioned him to create one for his home and now he is Walsh’s biggest collector.

Alan said: “His art collection is absolutely incredible… so to be part of that and be invited to his home is absolutely fantastic and a real honour for me.”

Through recommendations from Sir Jackie and Coulthard, Walsh’s work is now owned by a host of F1 stars including Mercedes F1 driver George Russell, Australia ex-driver Mark Webber, Mercedes Team principal Toto Wolff and Formula One car designer Adrian Newey as well as the Prince of Monaco.

Walsh said: “If you’d told that 12-year-old boy who was sketching Monaco Grand Prix cars and whose science teacher had told him he wouldn’t do anything with his life, I probably would have been like, ‘Yeah, whatever’.

‘But I’ve proved them wrong and I couldn’t be happier to be living the dream in such a magical place and working with such incredible people.”

To see the artwork of Alan Walsh, please visit: walshgallerymonaco.com

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