Last Sunday saw the 3rd James William Carling International Pavement Art Competition as part of the Bold Street Festival. Pavement Artists from around the world congregated in Liverpool to take part in the competition.
This is Utrecht artist Remko van Schaik working on his entry for the competion, his finished painting is shown below.
James Carling was born in 1857 at 38 Addison Street, Liverpool 3. The offspring of Irish immigrants, James was born into extreme poverty, and in an effort to support his family by 8 years of age young James had taken to the streets, he was a talented 'Street Pavement Artist' known by everybody as “The Little Drawer” his work would have been seen on the pavement of Liverpool town centre. His work was however not viewable in Bold Street as this street was considered to be “too posh” and indeed was described as "the promenade of the aristocracy'. As James himself wrote: "even the sight of the ragged coat was enough to bring the harsh move on - for in Bold Street, the promenade of the aristocracy, the pavement artist did not draw".
It is recorded that James William Carling returned to Liverpool from America after trying to seek out a new life in the spring of 1887 with the intention of studying at the National School of Art. It is doubtful, however, that he even entered the school, for by the summer James became ill. According to the Brownlow Hill Workhouse Admission Records he was admitted on 17th June 1887 and died on the 9th July 1887. Like so many artists he died young, aged 29, and at this time he was poor and unknown. As such he was buried in a pauper's grave near a demure little chapel at Walton Park in what was then called Liverpool Parish Cemetery
So it is fitting that the Pavement Art Competition in the 21st Century should be named after James Carling.
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