Norwich pop artist opens colourful exhibition in Cathedral Close

Kerwin Blackburn at The Crypt Gallery, Norwich

Kerwin Blackburn's exhibition, titled ‘Lights, Canvas, Action III: Homecoming’, is inspired by Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollock - Credit: Charles Bliss

Norfolk-born artist Kerwin Blackburn has just opened a new exhibition at The Crypt Gallery in Cathedral Close, Norwich.  

Kerwin Blackburn is a former student of Norwich School

Kerwin Blackburn is a former student of Norwich School - Credit: Kerwin Blackburn

A new exhibition from Norfolk-born artist Kerwin Blackburn has opened at the Crypt Gallery in Norwich featuring portraits of iconic figures from music and popular culture. 

The exhibition, titled ‘Lights, Canvas, Action III: Homecoming’, is inspired by Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollock. The vibrant acrylic paintings are created with the artist’s distinctive “action painting” technique, which uses colour and movement to capture the energy and personality of pop culture icons like The Beatles, David Bowie, Diana Ross and many more. 

Kerwin grew up in Norwich and is an alumnus of Norwich School, which is located next to The Crypt Gallery in Cathedral Close.  

“It’s really nice to be back exhibiting at my old school 10 years after leaving,” Kerwin says. “It’s a great space next to Norwich Cathedral. I’m really looking forward to the next two weeks.” 

The exhibition is free to enter and is open Monday to Friday from 10am to 5pm and 10am to 4pm every Saturday from February 23 until March 11.  

Rather than attending art school, Kerwin studied international business, finance and economics at Manchester University before spending a year working in Singapore at an e-commerce brand called A Better Florist. 

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“Working in an e-commerce company, it gave me an insight into how to build a website and create Facebook ads.” 

Kerwin has used his commercial and business background to create his brand By Kerwin, which sells original artwork, prints and merchandise including mugs, cushions and clothing.  

Kerwin Blackburn at Boxpark

Kerwin has exhibited at venues including the Barbican Centre, Boxpark Shoreditch, Oxo Tower and Saatchi Art’s The Other Art Fair - Credit: Kerwin Blackburn

 “I strive to make great art accessible and to make it easy for everyone, even if they don’t come from an artistic background, to love and own art,” he says. 

Kerwin now lives in London but has returned to Norwich to share his latest work with his home city. The exhibition is housed in the 700-year-old crypt, the oldest venue his work has been displayed in.  

Kerwin Blackburn's action painting of The Beatles

Kerwin Blackburn's action painting of The Beatles - Credit: Kerwin Blackburn

Kerwin has previously exhibited at venues including the Barbican Centre, Boxpark Shoreditch, Oxo Tower and Saatchi Art’s The Other Art Fair. His work will also feature at an art fair in Brooklyn, New York in July 2022.  

“I started painting this style about three years ago,” Kerwin says. “The first one was The Beatles. It turned out so well that I just stuck with it. Now it has grown into this whole range of my favourite music icons like Stevie Wonder, Paul Weller, Amy Winehouse and pop icons like Twiggy and Kate Moss. 

Kerwin Black in front of pop culture portraits

Kerwin creates portraits of pop culture icons like Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and Twiggy - Credit: Kerwin Blackburn

“Stevie Wonder is one of my favourites. He’s the most dramatic, fun and energetic.”

All of the original portraits are drawn or painted by hand.  

“I’d recommend everyone makes a visit to see it for themselves. I’m sure everyone can find one of their favourites here. It’s unusual to see this kind of art in the Cathedral Close, so it's not to be missed!”