Spring is nearly here so we decided to welcome it with a Q&A chat about Penge’s colourful blooming art scene with two of its popular participants, Gary Foster (aka Dope) and Shaun Harrigan (aka Tubecomix).
PTB: Why do you think SE20 has now become such a vibrant area for both traditional and street artists?
Gary: There is a great sense of community, with lots of open minded people ready to experience something different and have a bit of colour added to their lives!
Shaun: I think it’s always had a place for creative people, but its good to see so much public art, local art projects and groups in Penge and the surrounding areas. I love The Paxton Centre, Stanley Halls and all the local Art trails in Penge, Sydenham and Dulwich for example. London Calling blogs #SprayExhibition20 project is big driving force behind new street art in the area.
PTB: Which other SE20 artists do you most admire?
Gary: I think everyone has a little something to offer to the wider community.
Shaun: I like Lis Watkins, who does great watercolours, in fact there is a lot of talent in the SE20 Art group, both Lis and myself are members, along with around 25 others (I believe it started a few years ago with only 5 members).
PTB: Which examples of street art in SE20 are your favourites?
Gary: Artista’s work at Penge East is bright and colourful but my favourite is ‘Sweet Boy’
Shaun: I like Artista’s piece in Stodart road, Dotmasters’ bin bags in St Johns road, Dank on the side of Penge DIY, Aero’s piece on the tattoo shop shutters in Maple road, Chinagirl tile in St Johns again. There are so many artists and so many different styles it’s hard to choose one. That Dope guy is alright too…
PTB: Your styles are very different. Who do you think has influenced your work?
Gary: Banksy for the style of streetart, but my biggest influence is my son Zanda!
Shaun: Early on I liked Pollock, I love thick paint, but I also love Ivon Hitchens, who did landscapes in a quite abstract way. They both taught me a lot about using different size and shapes of canvas. And I’ve always been a little obsessed with comic art, at the moment those from the 50’s, horror and sci-fi. I’ve just started doing a series of pictures called ‘tubecomix presents: South London Comix’. Last and definitely not least is my lovely girlfriend Corali, who is a talented photographer herself.
PTB: Which building in SE20 would you most like to spruce up or use as your canvas?
Gary: There is a little lane between Galloways and the pizzeria on Penge High St that has a lovely little spot that I would love to put my mark on, I just need the permission.
Shaun: That’s Southey street, home of the Brewery! I think the bridge by Penge West station could do with a bit of colour…
PTB: What do you think of the mural at Hollywood East and would you want it to be saved when it’s converted to flats?
Gary: Great mural but selfishly I’d like to put my own stamp on it!
Shaun: I love it! I love the old murals like those done around the Festival of Britain in the 1951 or the GLC ones from the eighties. I hope it stays and is maintained. I admire the work The London Mural Preservation Society does for this sort of thing; in fact there’s a great video of the project they helped organise working with Positive Arts, a south London organisation including some local street artists (Mr Cenz, Aero, Tizer and Solo One amongst others) to renovate the Windmill mural in Brixton.
One of Tubecomix pieces:
You can see more of Tubecomix work at https://www.instagram.com/tubecomix/
One of Dope’s pieces:
You can see more of Dope’s work at https://www.instagram.com/dopeismdesigns/
Some other useful local art links: