Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Through The Keyhole - Stephen Davids

Stephen Davids lives and works from his home in London. Stephen runs an art space called F-art in Brick Lane which shows 'the best and the odd' and also produces his own drawings, assemblages and paintings.

When did you move to house/studio?

I moved into my house in 1997 and it has always been a place where I have worked even when I have had a studio space.

What made you choose it, what interested you about it's style or location?

At the time it was all that I could afford, however I have always found Victorian houses beautiful and robust. In terms of location it suits me perfectly - 2 minutes from the underground from where it only takes me 20 minutes to get into the centre of London. My house over looks what was once a field, and it has no houses behind so it appears that I am living in the country and it is reminiscent of what the view may of been like in the early 20th century (the house was built around 1880).

I am able to see rabbits and foxes running about on the disused train line that once went straight to Liverpool street before the Central Line was built. My view from the garden is the Olympic Village development and I am also able to view the Eurostar en route to Paris, as I am behind where the Eurostar is serviced and parks up.

In terms of style my house has been designed using furniture which I have collected. I have simple Ercol wooden chairs in the main space and this space is dominated by a 1940’s oak plan chest and an imposing Oak easel. Lighting is subtle. I light the space with a 1950’s Jiedle floor lamp and also a desk one. The main space is open plan which is where I draw and the light is south facing so I get good light through sash windows.

What's your favourite room - why?

I like my bathroom as it has a French roll top bath that sits simply in the middle and I am able to lay in the bath and take a view of London seeing the city and the Natwest Tower. The colour of the bathroom is Farrow & Ball grey/blue and this compliments the greenery outside.

How would describe your decorating style?

Simple / Contemporary

Do you have any special treasured objects?

As an avid collector of objects, I made this into a business however it is something that also inspires my work. Objects that adorn the house are mixed with contemporary modern and objects that have been handmade. My most prized object is an 1980’s Aunt Sally that was given to me as a present and ‘she’ sits comfortably on the shelf in the original dress (which is rare).

What is interesting about your house and why?

My house is interesting to me as it is a space which I am inspired by.

What is interesting about your house contents and why?

Objects often carry a story that will relate to you and your work. I love junk and junk is Art (to me). I am more inclined to look for something that is worn, battered and old, as this carries a history and resonates a story. The contents of my house are an eclectic mix of old, new and odd, but together they represent me and what I like and what I am inspired by. I am a lover of Ledgers and have many on my shelves. These I use as drawing books. They fascinate me to the point of leaving me dumbstruck, purely by their beauty and the calligraphy that lies within the page. The books are beautifully bound and the paper is robust. I have ledgers that are dated from the 1850’s and when I look at them on the shelf I am instantly inspired to draw and write.

I am also a lover of the juxtaposed, the vernacular and the graphic. Text and bold design inspire me. The contents of my house find their way into my work in some way whether that be by text or a reference; however each object has a history and a story to it. By way of how I came to own it, a story of bartering, a gift, the place where I bought it, the price I paid. All this adds to the provenance of the object.

Why do you like your area of the world - how does it relate to your work if at all?

My area is not Notting Hill, Islington or some chi chi part of London, but what it lacks in style it makes up for being functional. It has all what I need. I have a beautiful deli on the corner (that does the best coffee at affordable prices and not the break the bank prices accustomed to London) I am 20 minutes away from my Art Suppliers; but if I’m lazy I can mail order. But above all it’s cheap and accessible. My house in another part of London would be unaffordable to me; however I am able to live in a beautiful contemporary period property in an area which is quiet and on the up, and its my East End of London.

I’m an artist who lives on a minimum fluctuating budget,being practical is crucial to my survival. Home is where the ‘Art ’ is.

1 comment:

Jules said...

A gorgeous quirky, loved and lived in place.