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From the 1930s depression right through up until the digital age, Brui’s Blue Collar Handjob exhibition draws on personal written journals to explore themes around the beauty of struggle.

Home after a successful show at Serigraffeur gallery in Berlin, Brui has returned to the cafe space at Constellations in Liverpool. Brui is the studio moniker of local artist and illustrator Nick Booton, based out of Funf Studios in the Baltic Triangle.

“The show in Berlin went really well”, said Mr Booton, 28. “For me it was an opportunity to receive a well-rounded critique of my work in a show full of international artists and printmakers.”

Walking around the café on my own I couldn’t help but think of Charlie Chaplin’s – Modern Times – whose iconic tramp is overwhelmed by the inescapable monotony of the machinery. Screen printing itself has been around since the turn of the 20th century and Nicks’s bold colours contrast the mechanisation of industry with the insecurity that plagued the depression era.

The ‘dust bowl’ conditions are evident in I got a right to cry, and Torment in twilight, which capture a quiet sadness during an era were a man’s identity was traditionally linked to their breadwinning role.

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The work suggests there is a futility to manual labour, both back breaking and thankless, blue collar workers today continue to struggle, and assert their masculinity in a world that increasingly values their labour as disposable.

In The Grapes of Wrath, John Stienbeck says: “Muscles aching to work, minds aching to create. This is man.” The role of man and work might have changed a lot since the 1930s but Nick’s work provides a striking, personal insight into both.

“I cant help but compare the Baltic Triangle to Friedrichshain, one of Berlin’s central creative hubs. I hope the area continues to work towards a similar format as it was inspiring to be a part of an area that is internationally renown for its creative energy”, Mr Booton added.

Blue Collar Handjob will run until the 7th September. Get down and have a look. Prints are also available to buy online.