| Off the map : London's East End
One of Peter's urban vistas - a true classic.
We had been for a walk around London in all its variety of hectic life and its beauty and ugliness, although the ugly is, if anything, more interesting and inspirational.
This painting (in oils) shows an area of Brick Lane on the walk from Bethnal Green to Whitechapel and beyond ending up at Tower Bridge and then across the River to Hays Galleria at Bankside, all, (except Hays Galleria), unchanged since we lived in London and explored it very thoroughly - more so, as Peter knew of many places as a resident of the City since birth and areas he spent time painting back in the days when he was at Art School in the 1970's
. This motorcycle business was (and is) situated in a back alley off Brick Lane near a brewery called Trumans and is covered by graffiti (shades of Banksy) - off the map! There are a number of motorcycles of many sorts - old and new, colourful and interesting, bland and uninspiring, but the whole very inspirational and Peter was immediately moved to render a memento partly because the colour and the circular grafitti reminded him of "The Who" (rock band). He worked on it for hours at a time using new paint techniques and a new palette. The motorcycles in their different liveries give light and direction to the viewer. Perhaps you are a car lover. We are neither of us prone to preferences in this area but that does not stop us being struck by the variety and construct of all these machines.
"This is, of course, now, and that was then" meaning that "back in the day" when Peter first had an artistic association with Brick Lane, things "were a bit different" back in the early 1970's. . . . . .
"One of the things that our tutors at St. Martins School of Art liked to do, as "good training" for going out into industry, in an era when artists frequently had reportage jobs working for magazines and newspapers, was to "toughen us up" for the often daunting job of "drawing in public" and the idea was to send us all down to places like Brick Lane to draw for a couple of weeks. The first week we were there, two of the girl students on the course sat side by side on the kerb drawing the shop fronts on the other side of he road. Suddenly, a car drew up, two geezers got out of it and duly set about each other over the bonnet. I remember with amusement the look on the faces of the girls, who were "nice" girls from "nice middle class backgrounds" from "nice suburbs outside of London" as they looked at each other, rigourmortised with fear. It wasn't the genteel place its became in the financial services boom time era, where the local Council has recently installed padding around lamp posts to stop people banging into them because they are always on their mobile phone.
"Fings" (definitely) ain't what they used to be".
Deborah Vernell Jones