Another weekend, another open studios event in Stockwell. The artistic community around my little patch of South London really is one of the hidden secrets of SW8. This weekend it was the turn of the fine artists of the 401 and a half gallery along Wandsworth Road to showcase their varied talents.
I’ve been aware of the 401 since my days of exploration and blogging around Larkhall Park. The old industrial building backs onto the western edge of Larkhall. I could think of no finer artistic inspiration than the beauty of the park for the artists within 401.
The gallery has been functioning as an active workspace since 1971. Designer Michael Haynes set up the workshops, and invited into the spaces the already thriving artist working within SW8. Almost forty years later, and the 401 is still functioning as a creative hub.
I truly value these opportunities to have a poke around our local studios. Although not strictly out of bounds for the rest of the year, the location of the 401 makes the space seem hidden away from the rest of Stockwell.
On Saturday I found nothing but welcoming faces, all keen to talk about their work and help educate the illiterate art lover. It wasn’t just the more traditional oil paintings or watercolours that could be found within; sculpture, silverware, ceramic tiles and fine art were all on show.
I was particularly impressed with Rebecca Campbell’s illustrative paintings, depicting a quaint, English setting, with the parody of characters or figures that are out of context. So much so that
I bought up half the gallery (I wish…) I plucked up the courage to ask Rebecca for a brief podcast.
Estate agents will tell you that the sign of any upcoming area is the influx of artists moving in. Yeah, right. Stockwell has been home to the South London art community for far too many boom and bust years to remember. The openness of this loose, association of artists however is something that is unique to area. Art is for sharing and stimulating. Or even blogging.