TRIBUTES have been paid to an extraordinary artist with a unique vision of working class life.

Whitehaven-based artist Kevin Carr passed away last week at the age of 57.

Mr Carr’s work has been exhibited in major galleries throughout the country and in private collections worldwide.

His friend and fellow artist Conrad Atkinson worked with him on the Miners Monument in Cleator Moor.

“Kevin Carr was an extraordinary artist. His own work as an artist on issues such as Sellafield and radioactivity were both biting and witty. He was skilled in a number of media mixing both video performance and painting in a unique series of works. His vision based in West Cumbrian culture about working class life and issues was unique and he will be missed.”

A planned display at Florence Arts Centre next month will go ahead in the form of a memorial exhibition, starting on April 20 until May 18.

The exhibition has been organised by friend Kevin Weaver. The pair met nine years ago when Mr Weaver moved to the area from London. “He was very passionate and his work was raw but witty. He did very accomplished portraits of locals he met in the pubs on his drinking sessions and other work that showed the variety of his work and his talent. He was a passionate socialist like myself who disliked what Thatcher and the Tories had done to the north of England, particularly closing the mines and stripping the industry. Obviously West Cumbria was a victim of this,” said Mr Weaver.

They lost touch for a while but they became close again around a year ago after Mr Carr was taken ill. It was then that Mr Weaver started working with the artist on a show at Florence Arts Centre, to help him cope with some personal difficulties. “He had begun sketching local characters again at The Marchon Club near where he lived. He had great talent and insight as well as courage to go against much of the art tradition locally and do political work. He is one of the very few local artists I admire and I will remember him for his genuine work and his wry smile.”