Joe Scarborough

Born: Sheffield (1938)
Lives and works: Sheffield
Awards: Sheffield Legends 'Walk of Fame' (2008)
Exhibitions: Museums Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University
“My art is based on repertory theatre and the drama of real life...I always want to put on a good show.”

Former coal miner Joe Scarborough brings a sense of theatre to his vibrant pieces, which are inspired by Impressionism and the drama of real life. 


Born in Sheffield in 1938 to a poor family, Joe began to create art as a child – scribbling on the back of reports his steelworker father brought home from work. The vivid colours and lively scenes of surrounding advertising posters offered a glimpse into a happy and exciting world – something that would follow him into his adult life.

After years spent working in the coal mines, he held his first solo art show at the age of 26. Joe quickly made a name for himself with his multicoloured paintings, which feature anonymous four-inch figures and scenes inspired by the 1950s and 60s. Since then, he has exhibited at Museums Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University, and in 2008 was awarded a star on Sheffield’s ‘Walk of Fame’.

To create his energetic pieces, Joe first paints the canvas orange – which Impressionist masters like Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir did to create movement. He then sketches in the figures with a pencil, holding it similarly to a screwdriver. Raw umber is applied, before dark lines are added once the paint is dry. 

Joe says: “The colours are like dancers: they all want to be seen. My art is based on repertory theatre and the drama of real life. I set my characters in vistas my audience will enjoy, and I always want to put on a good show.”


Inside the world of Joe Scarborough

Here's a taste of what the painter has been up to recently! To make sure you stay up-to-date with all of our artist news, follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

From the blog

Documenting Sheffield's history: Joe Scarborough – Life in the Big Village

He’s one of the city’s best-loved artists, so it’s only right that the painter will be exhibiting his works at Weston Park Museum this summer. The event will bring together over 60 paintings and drawings for his first major retrospective in over 25 years.

Pantone's Living Coral Colour of the Year

From stunning portraits by Andrew Kinsman to the nostalgic scenes by Joe Scarborough, the Pantone Colour of the Year can be found everywhere!

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