Speed Painter to pay homage to John Lennon with stunning six-minute portrait at Go North Wales tourism conference in Liverpool

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A speed painter will bring to life a portrait of John Lennon in less than six minutes, at a conference in Liverpool to share North Wales’ adventure tourism expertise with Mersey businesses.

Performance artist Dave Sharp will pay homage to his idol at the Go North Wales Conference on Monday June 20, which is part of the International Festival for Business being held in Liverpool from June 13 until July 1.

The former Britain’s Got Talent contestant will entertain delegates with his pop-art inspired handiwork, using a paintbrush in each hand, and a specially chosen soundtrack building up to a final reveal.



Go North Wales conference organiser Jim Jones, MD of North Wales Tourism, has curated a programme of expert speakers to showcase the best North Wales has to offer as the ‘adventure playground’ for Merseyside and the UK.

Among those sharing their success stories about how North Wales has earned its place on the global map for outdoors tourism, will be visionary entrepreneur Sean Taylor.

The former bodyguard for Baywatch star Pamela Anderson created Europe’s longest zipwire, at Zip World in Bethesda, and Bounce Below, a series of giant trampolines in underground caverns at a former slate mine in Blaenau Ffestiniog. He has also recently lodged plans for a dramatic 1km long toboggan run in Betws y Coed.

Sean will join other experts including Andy Ainscough of the adrenaline-fulled Surf Snowdonia attraction in Dolgarrog, and Phil Scott of adventure boat tour company Rib Ride, at the Go North Wales showcase.

They will be encouraging leisure and tourism operators in Merseyside and across the UK to ‘think big’ when it comes to planning and running tourism attractions and events, and offering tips from the recent North Wales experience.

Also thinking big will be speed painter Dave Sharp, who says it takes around a week of practice to get each painting and performance just right.

The lifelong Beatles fan who lists Come Together, Don’t Let Me Down and Let It Be among his favourite tracks, chose Lennon as the subject for his Liverpool piece, which will measure 5ft by 4ft and take around six minutes to paint.

“It’s an iconic image,” he said, adding: “I think as it’s a Liverpool event, it’s fitting to paint John Lennon. He’s always been an inspiration to me and it will be a privilege to paint him in his home city.

Dave, 32 and originally from Colwyn Bay, previously worked as a musician on Disney cruise ships, often performing Beatles songs, after having graduated with a degree in art from Leeds University.

But when he witnessed a speed painter performing on board he decided to combine his love of art and music to develop his own speed painting act.

Taking inspiration from the Impressionist masters such as Van Gogh as well as Pop Art greats like Andy Warhol, he has developed a bright and colourful style using acrylic paints.

Dave now travels around the UK putting on live art shows set to music at leisure, tourism and corporate events, including Great Gatsby and James Bond themed performances s in London earlier this month for private clients.

He said the adrenaline of painting live in front of an audience is what fuels his passion for his work.

He said: “I rehearse in my studio for days with no-one about just me and the music and suddenly you are up on the stage and the spotlights are on you, and the crowd are reacting, and it’s really encouraging.

“That’s part of why I’m addicted to it. Most people haven’t seen it before. You can change the context to suit each audience, and every time you do it it’s different.”

And there will be a twist at the end as the performance using acrylic paint in a pop-art influenced style includes a final reveal, says Dave, who has released a sneak preview video of him painting Lennon on You Tube.

Delegates at the Go North Wales conference will be able to enter a prize draw to win the John Lennon painting.

Dave added: “Liverpool is really our closest big city in North Wales and so I’m really looking forward to the performance and the Go North Wales event.”


Go North Wales conference organiser Jim Jones, MD of North Wales Tourism (NWT) is an ex-Welsh Guardsman who is on a new mission to sell North Wales to the world.

NWT is the largest destination management organisation in Wales with a growing membership of more than 1,000. Jim is passionate about working in partnership to promote the region’s spectacular landscape, heritage, culture, food and drink, accommodation along with the adventure and family attractions.

He said: “We have some great successes in North Wales and we want to share those with leisure and tourism operators from across Merseyside and the rest of the UK, from the Lake District right up to Scotland.

“We have a seen a shift change in recent years to become a dynamic region with a reputation for iconic events and attractions, which are bringing in visitors from around the world.

“We have put together an exciting programme of some of North Wales’s most respected and influential experts in the outdoors leisure and adventure tourism sector.

“It’s really important for us to share our stories in Liverpool, as North Wales is on the doorstep of the city and we really are the adventure playground of the North West.

“We would encourage others in the sector to be brave, and look not just at quality but also identify big new ideas that are going to transform what we in the UK have to offer to domestic and international visitors.”

Also speaking at the Go North Wales conference will be Ben Taylor of International Motorsports, who is responsible for the organisation and commercial development of Wales Rally GB, the UK’s round of the FIA World Rally Championship.

David Reed of British Marine Wales, also a director of the Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales, will share his expertise in product development for the marine leisure industry, as well as helping the sector to grow through developing public-private partnerships.

Other experts at the event will be: Ashley Rogers, chair of the influential North Wales Business Council, former British cycling champion turned behavioural economics expert Denise Hampson of Hampson Solutions.

Award winning entrepreneur Gareth Jones of the Carbon Zero Group will be on hand to share his experience starting five new businesses in the past 12 months, including the UK’s first dedicated glamping construction company and UK Leisure Living which is on track to sell over £1 million pounds worth of hot tubs this year.

The Go North Wales Tourism Conference is part of the Show Me Wales event at this year’s International Festival for Business, at the Exhibition Centre, Liverpool.

It will sit alongside the Best of British Showcase, and follows the Show Me Wales Exhibition which is open to the public on Sunday 19 June.

Tickets for the Go North Wales Conference cost £75 + vat (£65 + vat for NWT members). For more details visit: www.northwalestourism.co.uk/News/Go_North_Wales_Tourism_Conference/

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