Friday, 30 July 2010

London Lives: the longlist

I've just heard that I've been longlisted (and with 200 names it is a long list) for the London Lives competition, in which the winner's work will be reproduced in an outsize form for 12 months on Blackfriars Bridge, which is currently swathed in scaffolding while a new Thames-spanning railway station is built alongside it. The winning work will be seen by millions of people, including me, as I cycle over the bridge on my way to work. I will, therefore, have plenty of opportunity to contemplate and appreciate the winning work, whoever it is by.

More about London Lives here, with some images by other longlisted works.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

In the city

While Urban Sketchers around the globe are packing their bags and preparing to leave for the group's first international symposium, in Portland, Oregon, and the schools empty, there's a sense that we should be somewhere else now, too. In a short while, and after a few deadlines, we will be. But there are advantages to being in the city in the summer. Some streets are quieter, queues shorter, tempers calmer, even in the heat. The pace changes.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Gallery@oxo, South Bank, London, 29 July-15 August 2010

I'm showing in Skylark's summer group show at oxo@gallery on London's South Bank, which runs from Thursday 29 July to Sunday 15 August. The gallery, on the waterside between Blackfriars Bridge and the National Theatre, is open from 11am-6pm, seven days a week.

For more details, see here.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Domestic extremism

I have a quiet hour waiting to pick up daughter 2 from a friend's house, so have time to buy a coffee in a Turkish cafe on the High Street. Because I am here, and it is there, I draw what is across the road, which happens to be Stoke Newington police station. Years ago, when we lived in a tiny, rattling flat over a launderette just up the road, the police had a bad reputation here, and there were no cheerful Turkish cafes with tables on the pavement. Things change.

Picking up the Guardian , I find myself reading about an 85-year-old artist, John Catt, who accompanies his daughter to demonstrations against the arms trade, and who has somehow found himself classified by the police as a "domestic extremist". Their files have recently been released under the Data Protection Act.

"My dad likes to sketch and I will hold a banner and shout a few things," says his daughter. "But I'm careful about what I say."