About Pete Frankish

In 1986, I found myself at Lincoln College of Art to study graphic design. I quickly realised I did not wish to be a graphic designer, but having succeeded in escaping from Scunthorpe, I thought it best to keep this to myself.

The course was excellent and the first six months were devoted entirely to drawing from direct observation with life drawing one day a week. At the end of this, I exhibited my work and received a critique from my tutors. I was told ‘now don’t let this go to your head, but your work shows a fair degree of natural ability’. Of course it went straight to my head and I breezed through the two year course and passed in 1988.


A few months before the course ended, with a rising rent debt and limited cash, I was fortunate to move into a squatted house for the next eight years. I took commissions when they came along and supplemented this by pavement drawing on Lincoln’s pedestrianised High Street. This, year-round, was filled with surprisingly appreciative tourists.

My first attempts involved drawing on the paving slabs with chalk. Old masters with a religious theme proved popular. I would have to begin early as money didn’t start to come in until I had completed the first face. Then one summer my eyes were opened. After I’d been scratching away for an hour, two Dutch men in overalls took up a spot a hundred yards from me and rolled out a large sheet of sugar paper. They immediately started taking cash. I had a wander over to say hello and to see what they were drawing.

There was a rendering of ‘The Last Supper’ in pastels, already half completed. Now, the handling of the robes lacked subtlety, the faces were a bit hit and miss, and the hands looked like bunches of bananas. However, it was clear this was the way forward.

I then progressed from using chalk on pavements, to pastels on sugar paper, to acrylics on canvas.

Apart from the freedom to work on more complex subjects that working on a surface which can be rolled up at the end of the day has, the other great advantage was that, with appreciative donations coming in from the moment I had secured my work to the floor, I was free to spend as much time talking to people as I was for drawing and painting.

I was already moving in the ‘alternative’ art circles of Lincoln and this led to me finding out about a vacancy for a scenic artist at the production company attached to the Theatre Royal, Lincoln. I made an appointment for an interview and took along several of my large scale religious works. 

I had copied faithfully the work of Michelangelo and my favourite Caravaggio. This forced me to really concentrate on each square centimetre of the work. With this method, I could not fail to learn a lot about colour, composition, and anatomy. I believe the students from the Royal Academy attend classes at the British Museum in order to draw the Greek and Roman statures in order to internalise their idealised muscular physique.

Having got the job at the theatre, I spent six years learning all aspects of scenic painting from the leading designer and painter Alan Miller Bunford.

Since then, I have produced work for the theatre and commercial premises, including restaurants, public houses and leisure centres, as well as taking on various private commissions.

In 2002, my company Blue (EU) Limited was established to provide painting and design services to the entertainment industry.  My work has been seen on TV and in theatres in the UK and abroad. 

I won an award in 2016 for ‘Outstanding Achievement in Set Construction'.

In 2022, one of my paintings was chosen to publicise the Open Art Exhibition at Hull Ferens Art Gallery.

My company is currently contracted to Crossroads Pantomimes to design, produce and re-furbish scenery. 

In my studio at home, I devote my time to creating images which connect directly with people on an emotional level. 

You can see my paintings in the Gallery pages.