Robert ‘Bob’ Olley is an artist and sculptor best known for his mining subjects, humorous drawings and paintings of everyday life in the North East. Born into a South Shields mining family in 1940 he began his working life in 1955 as an apprentice painter and decorator. Two years later, realizing that much better money could be made in the coal mining industry, he started work in Whitburn Colliery where he spent the next eleven years, until the pit closed 1968. Leaving coal mining he joined Plessey Telecoms but, developing his artistic talents, he became a full-time professional painter and sculptor in 1974. One of his early paintings ‘The Westoe Netty’ drew instant public acclaim and since then Bob has undertaken many commissions for the BBC, Tyne Tees television, hospitals, theatres and boroughs including art-work, murals and sculpture. His work can be seen throughout the North East, in France and in many private collections.
"The Westoe Netty"