Pop-art gallery inspired by nuclear weapons by Blackpool comic-com artist to raise money for Ukraine crisis

A Blackpool artist is showing a series of paintings inspired by the atomic bomb and said his exhibition is a reflection of the current global threats.

By Lucinda Herbert
Thursday, 4th August 2022, 12:30 pm

John Marc Allen started working on the paintings before the pandemic. They are inspired by the threat of nuclear war, and its influence on popular culture.

But when the recent Ukraine war happened, he wondered if it was the right time for his exhibition.

John, also known as Tangerine Art, said: “I decided this is more relevant now than ever because it's reflecting what's happening in the world.”

John Marc Allen, aka Tangerine Art, is showing his atomic themed art exhibition at Hive on Church St

The display will be a mix of abstract paintings, and digital illustrations.

It includes depictions of weapons tests, and canvasses inspired by music, film and even children’s toys that were influenced by the detonation of the first nuclear weapon, The Gadget at the Trinity test in New Mexico, on July 16, 1945.

John added: “It was woven into the language of pop culture and fashion. In the 1950s and 60s, kids had toy atomic ray guns. There was even a game where you have to get a bomb into Japan.”

And the exhibition is called ‘How I learned to stop worrying’, after a Stanley Kubrick film about the accidental launch of an atomic weapon.

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But his interest in nuclear war dates back to childhood, when he was growing up in Ansdell in the 1980s.

“The threat of nuclear war was always on the news.”

And ten year old John heard a special mix of Frankie Goes To Hollywood - Two Tribes, which contained a public service announcement about what to do in the event of a nuclear attack.

“It was terrifying. When you are just forming a picture of the world it really shapes you, even though you might not think about it all the time.”

John has shown work at comic-cons in Manchester and Birmingham, and gives the subject a light pop-art approach.

“It’s tapping into the funny side of it, with cynical dark humour.”

10% of sales from artwork at the exhibition will be donated to charities to aid the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.

‘How I Learned to Stop Worrying’ is on the top floor gallery at HIVEArts on Church Street, Blackpool. It runs from 4 August - 3 September 2022 and is free to view.