Interview with Art Attack's Neil Buchanan
PUBLISHED: 00:16 13 November 2011 | UPDATED: 12:07 28 February 2013
BAFTA-winning Neil Buchanan first entered our living rooms with Art Attack in 1990. He surprised and delighted six million viewers each work with his drawing, model-making and Big Art. Neil has lived in Sussex for the past two decades.
Where do you consider home to be?
If home really is where the heart is then Id have to say that Sussex is my adopted home. Of course I still sound like a Scouser, but who could resist this very beautiful part of rural East Sussex, with its rolling hills, the amazing bird life and the landscape peppered with oast houses and apple orchards? My children have grown up here and they went to school in Sussex, so Ive definitely put deep roots down and I dont plan on ever leaving.
I sometimes think its ironic that Ive ended up living just around the corner from another Liverpudlian, Paul McCartney. Obviously growing up in the Sixties in Liverpool I was surrounded by Beatlemania, which had a huge impact on me and I took up playing the guitar throughout my teens. I went on to form the band Marseille, which was catapulted to success in the late 70s with a record deal and tour of the USA playing to 40,000 screaming fans at a time! Sadly our success was much more short-lived than The Beatles though as the record company collapsed. My career as a musician has a happy ending though as I reformed Marseille and recorded the album Unfinished Business last year in my studio in Sussex and were still touring throughout 2011.
What inspired you to start painting Neil Buchanans HOPE STREET?
After a three year break away from the cameras, I started thinking back to my own childhood in the early Sixties. They were long, carefree days where you could be whoever you wanted to be and go wherever you wanted to go it was a time where you could rule the world or win the World Cup and all before tea time! When I went out to play, I walked down my very own HOPE STREET everyday with the gift that only children truly possess in abundant measure imagination.
Tell us about the pictures
My HOPE STREET is not a place, its a state of mind... and its a nice place to be. Im a sucker for nostalgia and each picture tells a story. I skip across all sorts of memories from fishing with homemade rods, shared bike rides and hanging out on the swings, to the dead exciting arrival of the ice cream man and eating chips straight from the wrapper! As a performer I want my pictures to perform for you and take everyone down their very own HOPE STREET memory lane.
Whats your favourite town in Sussex?
Rye, Rye and Rye again! I spend so much time in the town I really should sell up my house in the Sussex hills and move there! Rye has a great arty, chilled out vibe and there is a fabulous coffee shop called Apothecary at the top of the main hill. I love to pull up one of their comfy chairs, read the papers, sip on an awesome coffee and watch the world go by. The town oozes history and charm and I think I must have eaten in just about every restaurant in Rye! Brighton is wonderful too, especially The Lanes.
Whats been the greatest achievement of your life?
Winning the first of two BAFTAs for Art Attack for an ordinary lad from Liverpool it doesnt get much better than that!