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      Stephen Whalley Contemporary Artist
      My life has always had me immersed in art in some way, shape or form. I remember winning my first national art competition at the age of 5 back in 1982 and since then its been my life's passion.
      I never really painted a lot at all in my young years as I was mostly into designing and inventing things, but I knew the whole way through my teenage years I wanted to be a designer/ artist. 
      Im proud to say I went to school at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution in Belfast and still have strong ties with the school even after leaving over 20 years ago! My education finally lead me to the University of Ulster in York Street were I completed a Foundation in Art and Design followed by a Bachelor of Arts in Design. 
      My painting never really evolved until I left college and after a number of years working in the building trade I opened my very own gallery business in small unit in the centre of Holywood, County Down. 
      My wife was also my partner in business and we spent 8 years in the premises in Holywood High Street were we learnt how to paint in a commercial type market. After a number of solo and group shows my work took lots of different paths but it always seemed to come back to my passion for painting landscapes. 
      I loved travelling and experiencing my very own coastal and countryside areas of Northern Ireland. The colours and mood of the sky were endless inspiration to me and loved being able to effortlessly paint from memory onto canvas.



      A homeland depicted in silk

      As a contemporary Belfast artist I wanted to create a new exquisite silk pocket square and jacket lining range to feature some of the most scenic and recognisable places in Northern Ireland.

      The inspiration to have my own collection of luxury silk customised pieces for men happened when I was having a jacket, with the unusual lining, tailored for myself. I felt the jacket and bespoke lining, as well as being incredibly smart, would appeal to stylish men here with a special affection for certain parts of the province.

      I have always been interested in handmade goods since my grandfather introduced me to Belfast shoemaker the late Pat McKearnan. He supplied me with a pair of custom-made shoes every year until he passed away.

      It was this lifelong interest in customisation which made me yearn for my own unique product which married my love of art with fashion.

      Something completely new

      After a visit to Belfast tailors, Suitor Brothers, who have been making and supplying the finest men’s suits for generations, I realised a silk pocket square would be the ideal prototype for my collection.

      I noticed pocket squares were either a plain colour or featured polka dots or a Paisley design. It was an opportunity to create something completely new.

      Since then I have travelled all over Ireland north and south capturing my homeland on canvas, but I also drew on my childhood, growing up in Grand Parade in East Belfast for ideas. My dad Jake Whalley, who worked as a plater in Harland & Wolff shipyard for over 45 years, had told me many stories about the famous foundry so it was only natural to paint my version of the cranes Samson and Goliath as one of the designs for the silk pocket squares.

      Whalley silk
      Whalley silk
      The Whalley gallery

      Two creative worlds

      So the concept was born, a luxury fashion accessory which would feature customised paintings depicting everything from the windswept beaches of the North Coast to seaside towns and historic cityscapes.

      Having run my own art gallery for 10 years and with a degree in design I have been able to combine the two creative worlds to produce beautiful customised pieces for men looking for something unique with incredible style credentials.

      Original oil painted scenes are transferred seamlessly to the silk so each one is as individual as its owner. And the tailor-made pieces offer special resonance to its wearer.

      The nature of the painted scene, be it the mysterious beauty of the Dark Hedges in Ballymoney to a cityscape or coastal idyll, means the pocket square can be draped in a suit jacket to complement or contrast with the particular hue of the suit, a tie or shirt.

      With more men now embracing elements of heritage style, anyone can add a final flourish of colour and luxurious texture to a jacket with one of my silk pocket squares.