Now, Then

A portraiture of Darlington

Like to Listen?

Use this video to hear about the artwork.

The Artwork

Inspired by conversations with Darlo residents, past and present, I created a series of images to capture moments of their stories. I focused on the most distinct and formative memories they shared with me during our chats.

In this collection, there are three 'out-of-place' building drawings. One of the town clock, drawn before conversations took place, a central point for the town. Another is of Darlington Hippodrome and Theatre Hullabaloo, a structure key to the identity of the town which was origionally created for the theatre themselves but was mentioned by so many people that it had to be featured. Finally, there is a drawing of the library itself, the place where most of our conversations took place and where both the history and present of the town are the most alive.

The Poems

Some of our stories had to be shared through words. I developed 8 poems exploring the themes and ideas that were frequently brought up by multipul generous participants. Some of these also link to illustrations that have been made (such as Music with the Bandstand, My Body My Mind with the arm growing out of ivy and It Takes A Village with the baby and nurse picture.

Like to Listen?

Use this video to hear the poems spoken outloud.

The Sketchbook

While in residence, I documented the thoughts, ideas and views in few sketchbooks, exploring Darlington through Reportage, Mindmaps and Experimental Drawings.

Featured Artists

During the project, we issued a call out for artists connected with Darlington. Five artists work have been featured in this exhibition. Here are artist bios and descriptions written by the artists themseleves:

New ‘Nian’ by Aurora Chen

'Nian' means 'year' in Chinese language nowadays, but it was the name of a mythical beast who would terrorise villages at the beginning of each year in traditional Chinese tales. The use of firecrackers, red decorations, and the colour red in general in Chinese New Year is believed to scare this fearsome creature. 

This drawing perfectly depicts the dreaded 'Nian' beast with creative colours and patterns, evoking emotions and visual interest not only for Chinese folks but also for an entire inclusive community. I created it on recent Chinese New Year's Eve, a festival where families are supposed to reunite, but I am alone overseas, far from China, I brought myself best wishes and celebrated the multicultural and inclusive nature of the world.

This marker pen drawing of the 'Nian' beast presents a powerful combination of cultural resonance, technical skill, and artistic creativity, making it a compelling addition to this amazing exhibition.

Darling Town by Jeanette Tenwick

A kawaii view of Darlington Depicting architecture including the brick train, the indoor market, St Cuthbert's church, the Pease monument, the hippodrome and the bowls club.  I drew Darling Town in January of 2024 as part of my own journey in trying new techniques and styles to improve my mental health and artistic talents.

Jeanette is a Darlington based freelance designer, creator and maker of quirk! After a decline in my mental and physical health I have recently started creating artwork under the name Fox  Loved Designs. But my love of creating has always been with me under many different guises over my 43 years. I am a lover of colour and the fun side of life and I find that usually  shows through in my creations.

Tyche Teesside the Muse of Industry by Brian Lee

Digital illustration created on an iPad using Procreate.  June 2023. Part of a series of disappearing Teesside industrial sites incorporated alongside the heads of various figures. 

Brian Leehas illustrated over 30 children’s books and has been commissioned to produce work for museums, murals, historic sites and houses, educational publishers and advertisers. You can see more examples of his work at

Our Last Goodbye by Julied Mustard 

This piece was inspired by light, and how it hit St Cuthbert's Church. We said our last goodbye to my auntie that day, and I couldn't help but wonder "how many last goodbyes have the Church grounds heard?"

The grounds were empty and the air was frigid, but the Church somehow managed to look warm in the sunset. I envied it. The stillness that the Church seemed to have and the warmth despite how cold it was. But there was peace there. Maybe there'd be peace in me soon too.

I am an Illustrator Based in the North East of England. I graduated with a First from the Northern School of Art where I studied Illustration for Commercial Application. I enjoy working with narratives and take a lot of inspiration from my own life, media and the landscape around me!

Spook and The Shadow by Imagination Tails

Spook and The Shadow, 2024, is a preview of our upcoming children's book by the same name, created in a digital format. 

Imagination Tails is a children's creative company created by Tees Valley locals, Katie and Lucy, who are responsible for writing and illustrating the book Spook and The Shadow.

Who Am I?

My Name is Lizzie Lovejoy! I am a Darlo born poet, performer and picture maker. I have spent my whole life in the North East (apart from a brief time in Bonnie Scotland) and love our history, culture and words!

We are More Than.

We are Northern.