This week saw the celebration of the inaugural art show in Covent Gardens trendy new coffee house Timberyard. Open a mere two weeks, the Covent Garden Timberyard is the second to open after the success of their store in Old Street. The intention, to provide a relaxing environment for busy professionals on the move seems to be working with a location at the heart of the city offering a quiet oasis of calm.
The perfect setting then for a show of sketches from the London Urban Sketchers, a collective of artists committed to portraying London one sketch at a time. The show featuring works from Lis Watkins, Adebanji Alade, Nathan Brenville, Olha Pryymak and Evelyn Rowland shows London as viewed in real time by people who are sketching life as it happens. As such the sketchbooks and the images on display give a unique record of everyday life.
Not quite your average art gallery the Timberyard aims to provide a showcase for artists and exhibits the works in a way that compliments the nature of the core business, clearly more cafe than art gallery that means creating a space where art can be enjoyed whilst chatting over a latte or connecting to wifi over a laptop. From March the Urban Sketchers will move the show to the Timberyard in Old Street with more works on offer.
The Urban Sketchers themselves were founded in Seattle as a flickr sharing group providing an outlet for artists to share their sketches. Eventually evolving into the popular blog urbansketchers.org it now receives thousands of visitors a day and links to many regional blogs, not least to the one in London. James Hobbs, the founder of the London Urban Sketchers and the author of the recently published book Sketch Your World explained more, “Each artist draws on location, shares those images online through blogs and other social media, and occasionally we get together to draw – on sketchcrawls – or to exhibit together”.
For James, who sits on the board of Urban Sketchers, a non-profit organisation it’s about drawing more, meeting more and growing in number, the group is also a good place to meet and draw with international artists when they visit the city. “It isn’t just about the big well known sites” says James “it’s the forgotten and overlooked places that can be the most interesting to draw and which often say more about what the city is about. For most people living in London, Big Ben or Buckingham Palace aren’t what it’s all about – it’s more likely to be the corner shop, the bus stop, the skip-filled residential street, or the curry house that reflect the city’s character. But each artist has their own interests and personal approach.”
Ultimately though for James and the other Urban Sketchers it’s about the love of the city and the love of drawing “There’s no right way and wrong way to go about things. We draw what we see on location, and London has such a rich variety of everything.”
The London Urban Sketchers exhibiton is currently showing in Seven Dials at the Timberyard, 7 Upper St. Martins Lane and will last throughout February and into March. The launch show was held on Wednesday 29th January 2013 at the Timberyard. James Hobbs, the author of Sketch Your World, was interviewed over email on Friday 31st January 2013. Below is a series of images from the event, get right to the bottom and theres also a cool witty video clip from Nathan Brenville which he showcased at the event