Alexander Millar is known for his touching paintings, which turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. Inspired by his childhood in a small mining comunity in Scotland, his art is brought to life with light and impasto brushstrokes. After moving to Newcastle-upon-Tyne as a youth, Alexander became fascinated by the men of the town - termed “Gadgies” - and sought to capture them in his own unique way.
The figures' shoulders and shoes are exaggerated to symbolise the industrial age, whilst their shadowy shapes are obscured to highlight the faceless men who ran the factories all over the country. Powerful sunrises suggest a bright future.
To give the background a ghostlike quality, the underpainting is predominantly blue and then each subsequent layer is warmer than the last to lift the painting and create the illusion of mist. Once complete, the dark figure leaps out of the canvas.