Last Friday was a very special night. I was at an event at the famous revolving restaurant on the 34th floor of the BT Tower. After enjoying an excellent dinner, we had the opportunity to make art while the restaurant obligingly did its thing, offering us an ever changing view of London. I couldn’t resist the opportunity and took a wide panoramic canvas (80cm x 30cm) and started work.
I painted what I saw, as it appeared in front of me, and as the view moved, so did what appeared in the painting. I ended up with an abstraction of the view over London at night. This is the painting in situ, just after the restaurant stopped moving.
Here’s another view, looking straight at the canvas. I really enjoyed making this art work, it has real pace and movement to it, and I quickly realised I had to go with the flow, and let London appear, and appear, and appear. I am really enjoying scaling up my work.
I’ve been a fan of Anna Laurini’s street art since I first spotted it in London around 18 months ago. I admire her work, it feels really vibrant, alive. I love how Anna has developed a seemingly simple idea into such a wide range of representations. Her work is unmistakeable too – that’s neat.
Anna has always struck me as accessible. Since I began following her on Instagram – I have observed that she regularly responds generously to comments on her work. Recently Anna has been offering some of her paste up art for sale, so I asked to buy one and the next thing I know, I am invited to visit her studio.
I find myself among a huge number of large canvases, both finished, and works in progress. Anna has a show starting in London at Lights of Soho later this month and she’s busy making final preparations. It’s a pleasure to see so many of her works in one place, and to get a sense of how Anna works too. Although she is clearly busy, Anna makes me a lovely strong coffee, and talks at length with me about her work, and about creativity in general. ‘You’re the only person who can do what you do’, is probably my favourite snippet from our conversation.
Before I go, I’m invited to purchase a paste up from a neatly organised folder. I pick a recently finished one made using a page from The New Yorker.
As a parting gift, Anna surprises me with this lovely piece for me to give to Keira. Thank you Anna, for this gift, and for the chance to learn more about you and your work.
You can see and buy some of Anna’s work here, and her solo show ‘Profiles’ is at Lights of Soho from January 25th to March 11th. I leave Anna to her work and head back into London. As I wander down the Charing Cross Road, I find this.
I was over in Ohio last week at the 42nd annual state HR conference. It was an excellent trip catching up with old friends, making new ones, and learning from each other. Whilst there I gave a talk on Art for Work’s Sake, and two more on collaboration. At the end of each session I gave away a copy of Austin Kleon’s book, Steal Like An Artist. I give this book away often, so often I’ve lost count of the number of copies I have bought and passed on. This time – I decided to add a little something of my own to the mix, so I included a small water colour and pen sketch with each book.
I painted some water colour onto wet card and let them dry overnight. Then I drew on some iconic London related imagery, added the London Calling call sign, and my signature. All in all I guess each one took me about 45 minutes to make, the blue one slightly longer. I think I will repeat this experiment with future book giveaways, I enjoy being able to include something personal, something handmade.