London is, of course, many different things to different people, as this blog will no doubt prove. Each of us has our own view and our own islands within the huge whole that we know particularly well. For me, this means Stoke Newington—where I live, which is an ancient inner north London village with a history of dissension that has become perhaps a little more gentrified than I would prefer—along with Hackney, Hoxton, Islington, the South Bank, the City and West End. I’m not so at home in most areas with postcodes with a “W” in them (apart from NW11) or, I must now confess, most places south of the river (apart from The Oval cricket ground). I still draw in these places when I get a chance.
To have a bicycle and a sketchbook is, for me, the way to be. My drawings are often A6-sized or perhaps A5, and made with permanent marker pens. I’m quite happy to work on the back of an envelope. Taking quiet, off-piste cycle routes can lead to unexpected pleasures, usually unfrequented by tourists and yet gloriously cosmopolitan and multicultural, which is how I like my London to be. London can be ugly and violent, but it’s usually not, and I love to live here and have my children grow up here. Drawing it is a kind of hymn of praise to the city, warts and all.
|James Hobbs, New Oxford Street, London|
You can see more of my work at www.james-hobbs.co.uk, visit my blog or follow me on Twitter.