Monday, August 26, 2013

Art is everywhere in E17

With such an immense and diverse selection of art and artists contributing to the creative canvas that is Walthamstow, its not easy to know where to begin. Welcome to Walthamstow, where art is everywhere.

Approaching it's 10th year, you can't talk about art in Walthamstow without mentioning the stellar work of the E17 Art Trail. Founded in 2004 the Trail is an independent artist led project that has provided a platform for literally thousands of artists to showcase their talents and connected thousands of people throughout the community with examples of just about every type of art. From exhibitions and workshops to performance art, comedy and film, Walthamstow opens it's collective doors to the world for 16 days each year and invites you in.

Their Summer Show has just come to a close, but there's lots more to come in 2014 when the Trail takes off on another magical mystery tour of E17 from 30 May - 15 June. For a flavour of the Art Trail format check out last year's extensive listings.

A few fabulous examples from the Trail

Top, Tomcat Feelings ©Hassan Vawda; Bottom right, an assortment of more than 100 artworks on display at Penny Fielding Gallery and Interiors as part of the Art Trail Summer Show, photo ©Julie Caves, whose work is included in the display (top left); and bottom left, Helen Maurer’s Light Shadow Glass work at Blackhorse Lane Studios from the 2012 Art Trail. Photo ©Alex Bell Photography.

The idea behind Mural on the Marsh was simple. Take 12 local and nationally renowned artists and ask them to perform an artistic magic trick: Transform a tired, graffiti strewn underpass on the Walthamstow Marshes into a beautiful, one of a kind, masterpiece. Ok, that's not so simple, but wow did they pull it off!

Urban Fox  ©Hannah Adamaszek. Hannah's work can also be seen on display from 5 - 21 September at the Curious Duke Gallery, Whitecross St. London EC1Y 8QP. Banner and first four photos ©Fabsternation. 

The project was the brainchild of local photographer Fabien Ho (aka Fabsternation), who has been pulling together the artists and working with Lee Valley, to secure permission to carry out this fabulous outdoor installation, since January. For more incredible images of the Mural on the Marsh visit their facebook page and #MuralOnTheMarsh on twitter.

David 'Gnasher' Nash created two stunning Cormorants. For more examples of his work see
The official launch event for Mural on the Marsh was Saturday 7 Sept 2013.

From Coppermill Lane car park follow the footpath past the giant tables
and chairs towards Lea Bridge Road

Mural on the Marsh's Fabien Ho has been a photographer in Walthamstow for 13 years. As part of an E17 Art Trail project entitled, 'WOOF', he produced a series of almost 100 portraits of Walthamstow dog owners with their canine companions. For more on Fabien and his work check out

One of the most recent reasons to celebrate art in E17 came as a surprise to some when the William Morris Gallery (WMG) won the 2013 Art Fund Prize for Museum of the year. Having recently undergone a huge refurbishment the Gallery near Walthamstow's Lloyd Park is a stunning celebration of many forms of Art, including of course the works of it's namesake William Morris. 

Until 22 September see Emma Barnard's exhibit exploring 'Person as Patient', examining the process of depersonalisation in medicine by the use of biomedical artifacts such as doctors' notes, scans and surgeons' theatre drawings.

Grayson Perry's Walthamstow Tapestry. Photo ©Oliver Dixon/Imagewise
A recent display at the gallery, Grayson Perry's, Walthamstow Tapestry, which chronicles the journey from birth to death via consumerism. Perry, whose studio is in Walthamstow, won the Turner Prize in 2003.

We took a virtual wander down Wood Street in our recent article covering all that is kitsch and cool on this rejuvenated stretch of high street. What we didn't cover in detail was the hugely influential impact that art has had and continues to have on Wood Street. Over the past couple of years, and ongoing, Wood Street has been host to a series of art interventions under the collective name, Wood Street Inside Out. These have included the Shopportunity Scheme which paired artists and makers with local shops and traders to improve the look and feel of shop frontages, as well as several other collaborative ventures.

Many of the shops and market traders on Wood Street have an artistic nuance, including The Old Artistry, who specialise in antiques, vintage retro installations and custom art and Art Natur-El, who offer a beautiful range of botanical artworks. There are many more besides. Consider that there are over 50 stalls at the indoor market alone.

Vic Lee's mural installation next to Wood Street library. Part of Wood Street Inside Out.

What impact has Art had in E17

So, what impact has this amazing art had on Walthamstow? I spoke with Penny Fielding, who has been running her shop and gallery in Walthamstow Village for many years. "Walthamstow has given the Arts community a community...the whole area is burgeoning" said Fielding. Fabien Ho also explained how art had helped form an identity for Walthamstow which previously remained beneath the surface, " minds have become drawn to the area and helped drive growth culturally and economically."

Inside and outside the WMG. Photos ©Oliver Dixon/Imagewise.
Walthamstow has been a sleeping giant in years past, with so much potential brimming just beneath the surface. Art appears to have contributed to the process of drawing out this potential. There are some concerns that gentrification and regeneration, whilst bringing big improvements, comes at the cost of higher house prices and rents, as the area is beautified the demand from Londoners to live here increases, possibly leading to some artists leaving for affordability reasons. This is always a concern. It happened to an extent in Stoke Newington, Dalston, Hoxton and most of Hackney and many years earlier in the likes of Notting Hill and Islington. The hope is that Walthamstow can keep its awesome arts community and see a steady and sustained growth to preserve a happy balance in this burgeoning borough.

It must added at this point that there really is so much happening within the arts community here in E17 that it can't be reflected in one article. From Artillery, Blackhorse Lane Studios and The Mill on Coppermill Lane to the Vestry House Museum and Apex Arts there's a plethora of arts influence in #awesomestow. So, whether you live in E17 and didn't know the extent of the greatness on your doorstep, or if you're thinking of moving to Walthamstow, remember that Art is everywhere in E17, so come and check it all out!

A complete Walthamstow area guide.


  1. You forgot Black Duke & Cashman on Grove Road which hosts monthly exhibitions of UK and international artists as well as a selection of beautiful mid century furniture, collectibles and home wares plus it hosts the concession space for Craft Guerrilla a London based craft collective which represents and sells work by upcoming designer maker talent!

  2. Thanks for the additional info. So much happening in Walthamstow! If you send us an email at with details of events/exhibitions, we'll post them in the Upcoming Art Events section. Cheers!