John Eagle Photography | Redlight paintings

Redlight paintings

Towards the end of the Noughties I began to experiment a little with my oil paintings. I decided to do a redlight scene of a girl seated on bar stool, and it needed a caption

Bar girlBar girlOil on canvas in the Redlight series

Bar girl I called it. Not my usual style. I put the caption down as 'When she was in this frame of mind not even her pimp would talk to her' and I put it up on the wall and after a couple of months I gave it away to a friend and didn't think anymore on the matter until a collector of mine came along and said he really liked the oil, and could he buy it. And there was me giving it away for free. I thought maybe I should paint some more scenes set in redlight areas.

In 2011 I did just that.

Big WorldBig WorldOil on canvas in the Redlight series

I exhibited the oils at the Cleo Gallery in Kenmare. Not sure really what people thought of them. I was quite pleased with some of them, like this one above which I called 'Big World'. The building is deliberately massive to portray the poor girl lost in a big nasty world, how small she is in it. Going off with strange men, no doubt forced into plying her trade.

Alley girlsAlley girlsOil on canvas in the Redlight series

'Alley Girls'

This one I have painted over with a totally different scene. I have painted over a lot of the scenes as I feel they were something I was saying, pointing something out, hardships etc. It was never a sexual thing, simply a long running theme of humans surviving in hostile environments like my fishermen rowing in harsh seas, and farmers holding out in violent storms. It is how I see life, holding out, waiting for something nice to happen, showing a side of life that isn't very nice

The DocksThe Docksoil on canvas. Waiting at the docks, wondering which of the drivers will pick her up

'Down at the Docks'

A lonely girl waiting to see which car picks her up. The scene is nowhere in particular

The docksThe docksOil on canvas in the Redlight series

'The Docks'

Not sure prostitutes would wait at the docks like this, not many customers in the area, I just liked the idea of the docks with ships berthed and faceless windows looking down on the girls. It's all about hope and expectation

WaitingWaitingOil on canvas in the Redlight series


This one is a depiction of a rough life in a rough neighbourhood. The girl is trying to look sexy in order to attract business, but at the same time she is fragile and not really cut out for this kind of life.

Sleeping it offSleeping it offOil on canvas in the Redlight series

'Sleeping it off'

This is probably my favourite and I have saved it for last. Someone did point out that she would catch her death of cold. She's been up all night working the street, and drinking heavily. I worked hard to try and get her room right, the right colours and all. I think this is one of the best I have done in this series. I am not sure where the original oil is, maybe I painted over it as well

I worked in a Simon Hostel giving food to the needy, I have always had this feeling for the people who don't make it as well in life as others. I hope you enjoy looking at these oils. There's more of them on my archive oil painting website