CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Hampshire Life today CLICK HERE

The work of graphic artist Chris Gibson

PUBLISHED: 15:32 14 November 2018 | UPDATED: 15:32 14 November 2018

Chris Gibson

Chris Gibson


Graphic artist Chris Gibson is bringing Hampshire’s landmarks in to people’s homes with his nostalgic posters

My first thought when arriving at Chesapeake Mill is gratitude for being sufficiently early to allow time to browse through 1960s clothes and stacks of vinyl. My second, is chastisement.

The restaurant is full, why didn’t I book? Thankfully, my discomfort doesn’t last long. Within moments a table becomes vacant and I sit down to await the artist whose Southsea Pier image was a front page highlight in the August edition of this magazine. A strategically placed copy ensures Christopher Gibson finds me. When he does, it turns out he, too, has spent a while perusing the diversity of this emporium. The outer façade, apparently, might even make a good a subject for one of his legendary prints.

“It’s the iconic views which tend to sell,” the graphic artist states between sips of coffee. “More obscure places don’t interest people; they prefer an image of somewhere they’ve been. Water is the most tricky thing. I did Petersfield Open Air Swimming Pool in vintage style. The motion of water can look so beautiful if you think the way David Hockney might approach it.”

Having long harboured an interest in the history of graphic design, redundancy a decade ago, coinciding with a now famous poster, proved to be the spur which instigated Chris’s latest portfolio.

“Keep Calm and Carry On became popular about that time. Heritage is a huge industry. I’m not sure if it’s anything to do with nostalgia; vintage posters of the early twentieth century have a certain glamour that is appealing, even though the reality was very different.”

Chris’s South of the Downs exhibition featured his series of classic prints based on old travel posters. These were, he confesses, more popular than his watercolours or pastels: “They seemed to strike a chord with people, tapping into an interest in the past.”

The process begins with the 50 year old visiting his chosen subject. Weather conditions at this point are crucial.

The Camber, PortsmouthThe Camber, Portsmouth

“I always go on a sunny day. You want the sun for crisp shades, more contrast. Back in my studio I sketch up a rough composition which is scanned to the computer. Then I draw on the computer – I’m doing the drawing, not the computer. Getting the composition right takes a bit of time because you really want to create the iconic imagery people expect. Flat colours are built up in layers. It’s challenging getting things to work together. I have a folder full of things that haven’t quite made it but nothing is thrown away. My images have evolved, become more illustrative.”

Printing onto thick, uncoated art paper fixes the colour and prevents fading while as well as online sales, Chris works with White Dog Gallery whose Partner, Helen Steenhuis, is a big fan.

“Chris, one of our best-selling artists, has a fabulous range of over 35 images here, all produced in his highly collectable, vintage poster style. Each one is thoughtfully created as he looks for an unusual angle or iconic part of a building or scene, The Kings Theatre, for example.”

This two way relationship is beneficial on several levels, as the artist acknowledges.

“Working at home can be a bit isolating. You have to be quite disciplined and look for excuses to get out. It’s good to get involved with galleries and retailers. At first I found it a bit daunting going in and trying to sell yourself. It’s easy to be knocked back but wonderful when you get the right response.”

And satisfaction with his work, does that come easy?

“A lot I’m happy with but some I wouldn’t mind going back and tweaking them a bit. It’s a progression always. I’m probably happier now; learning how to see, that’s taken time.”

Solent RacingSolent Racing

This year Chris’s subjects have included Portsmouth based HMS Queen Elizabeth, though a past trip abroad to Canada has also stimulated ideas.

Given the flatness and clarity of his work, learning of his love of the Pre-Raphaelites is unexpected. He also confesses to a fondness for Victorian books and old prints of birds.

“I try to get the odd bird or bit of nature, if not an aeroplane, into my prints,” he laughs.

Talking of aircraft, the RAF centenary and Southampton’s link with the Spitfire inspired a scene of these celebrated planes over the Solent. And I reckon today’s venue will appear in print in the not too distant future because Christopher has developed a fascination for this historic building. And more. When we leave, he strolls around the village taking in the local scenery before declaring, “I’ve a feeling Wickham will be my next project for the autumn.” I can’t wait. Turning landmarks into vintage style posters will gain Christopher Gibson, and this historic village, a whole new following.


Claire Fuller on life as an author and her latest novel - Turning 40 kick started a career change for Claire Fuller that took even her by suprise. She talks to Rebecca Fletcher about becoming a best-selling author, and what to expect from her latest novel


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampshire visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampshire staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampshire account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from People

Monday, December 3, 2018

What does Christmas mean to you? Not everyone celebrates it of course but for those who do it is often simply a time for festive fun and creating new memories. We asked Craig David, Elizabeth Hurley, Colin Firth, Amanda Holden and more of Hampshire’s stars on what Christmas means to them

Read more
Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Graphic artist Chris Gibson is bringing Hampshire’s landmarks in to people’s homes with his nostalgic posters

Read more
Monday, October 29, 2018

Some of Hampshire’s best known personalities have revealed what they most love about the county. Here, we compile some quotes from our interviews over the years

Read more
Monday, October 8, 2018

Something Wicked this way comes… the hit musical follows the yellow brick road to Southampton this month. Leading ladies Amy Ross and Helen Woolf share tales from behind the emerald curtain

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Turning 40 kick started a career change for Claire Fuller that took even her by suprise. She talks to Rebecca Fletcher about becoming a best-selling author, and what to expect from her latest novel

Read more
Monday, September 10, 2018

You can take the lady out of Hampshire but you can’t take Hampshire out the lady. Yes, it’s a corny expression but it is true in the case of actress, singer, dancer and TV presenter Amanda Holden, who has never forgotten her roots in the county

Read more
Monday, August 20, 2018

With her bold, graphic designs, New Forest artist Evelyn Bartlett captures the magnificent scenery on her doorstep

Read more
Monday, August 13, 2018

From food and drink to fashion and furnishings, Wickham is home to businesses that are pushing the boundaries. Viv Micklefield meets some of those proud to be different

Read more
Monday, August 13, 2018

A surf club… on the Isle of Wight? Surely not! 50 years on, Faith Eckersall meets those that say their little island is the surfing community’s best kept secret

Read more
Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Tinnitus affects around 10% of the UK population and often goes untreated. Leightons Opticians and Hearing Care told us everything you need to know about tinnitus

Read more
Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Sir Ben Ainslie’s sights are set on bringing home the 36th America’s Cup in 2021 and hoping to join the battle are the sailors currently in his youth squad. Viv Micklefield catches-up with some of the young guns already taking the world by storm

Read more
Tuesday, July 31, 2018

You can’t keep Mary Berry out of the kitchen and the same goes for Hampshire. Bernard Bale hears about her favourite places to visit

Read more
Monday, July 16, 2018

We are a nation of shopkeepers, but is the shop dying? We head to Winchester’s High Street

Read more
Monday, July 16, 2018

Vibrant and colourful, Overton artist Arabella Ross captures nature in its most vivid form says Sandra Smith

Read more
A+ South & South West

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search