THE OLD ROCK FACTORY
The building really was a rock factory – the 1911 census reveals the Higgins family ran the business
“Many cities have art centres in buildings associated with products once synonymous with them. It had to be rock for Blackpool”
Owner Robin Ross has rescued and restored the building; it’s solidly built with great metallic pillars underpinning the structure. These pillars are more than capable of bearing the weight of the heavy machines that have been acquired via eBay, skips and closed down printworks for the seaside screen printing process
Since opening, The Old Rock Factory has been a venue for all types of artists, creatives and anyone wanting to ‘get into’ the arts scene in the Blackpool area. Over the years there has been a network of creatives established that work together, helping each other refine a style, theme, product range or even a business.
“To play the music, meet the bands, and enjoy every minute has been the only aim and as a bonus be paid for my hobby”
Robin has had a long standing fascination for, and relationship with music, radio broadcasting, art, photography and style.
Starting as part of his radio career, events organisation became a key skill for Robin and no matter how large or small the event they always had their own rewards for him. He has organised events ranging from the Llangollen Hot Air Balloon Fiesta to It’s a Knockout, County Shows to Corporate evenings, etc.
Art in the Park was an idea Robin developed from his lifelong interest in images and style. The 2003 Art in the Park exhibition featured rock stars, photographers, colour blind artists and painters on silk: pretty diverse for Blackpool and most people thought Robin was completely mad; however the Show won a Highly Commended award at the Blackpool Tourism awards.
Art in the Park 2004 went further, with paintings on 8 feet square sheets of aluminium; punk musicians, abstracts from a staff member at Tate North and images of New York – this exhibition won the Gold Award for Innovation of the Year 2004.
As Robin fell out of love with radio (and had nothing else to prove) Screen Printing came along, delivering the same rewards and creating something from nothing. For him, it’s all about the image, plus he gets to work with the most amazing Urban Artists.
Robin has had a solo show in New York, Austin Texas, Artist in Residence in Lisbon, Invited and took part as the only International Artist at the 2017 Moscow Print market‘Arteria’ Lancaster, ‘Sides’ Lytham and ‘Arteology’ in Colne, The New Artist Fair in London,‘The Manchester Buy Art Fair’, ‘Mutate Britain’ and ‘Upfest’ Bristol.
Robin also curates the ‘Sand, Sea & Spray’ Urban Art event in Blackpool (which he founded in 2011) which brings together Urban Artists from all over the world to paint live in the U.K.’s top tourist resort.
His journey continues… in 2018 having been invited to return to Lisbon and Moscow.