Please Use Other Footpath

Are there too many people in central London?

illustration of London architecture

illustration of London architecture

This new image was inspired by that feeling I get sometimes when London isn't quite as fun as it should be. All it takes is a stuffy tube ride, a cancelled train home, feeling travel sick on the bus, etc. and even the most loyal Londoner thinks it might be healthier to live by a babbling river in the Oxfordshire countryside. This is not peculiar to Londoners, I'm sure. All modern (and historical) city dwellers have bad days when they wished they had the streets to themselves.

The apparent onslaught of quickly built skyscrapers is due to arrive any week now, if you believe what you read. We may all like the shining pinnacles when they are complete, but I think it is a genuine worry for people. They don't seem to be for anyone other than rich corporate boardroom goers. Architecturally, it could end up as a pissing contest - my urban erection is bigger than yours!

However, despite all this, my image ended up being quite pretty with a low sun, dramatic shadows and warm colours. Hopefully it bodes well for the future: even glass and steel can look attractive in the right light. I call it 'Please Use Other Footpath'.

Printing in mono

I've been trying out some monoprinting at home, to see what results it might produce.

Monoprint. Blue printing ink (diluted, neat and wiped). Printed on damp 220 gsm paper.

This is what I did:

  • Monoprinting basically involves painting (with water soluble printing inks) on a water resistant surface (I've used glass).
  • I placed a printout of a photo of mine (taken in Borough, London SE1) underneath the glass, to give me something to paint over as inspiration.
  • Using either: neat ink, slightly diluted ink, ink that I scratch into, or ink that I apply then wipe off - I created my image.
  • I then place either a dry piece of paper onto the inked glass (or a piece that's been soaking for a few minutes in water but with any surface water wiped off before printing).
  • With a small roller (normally used for linocut printing) you give the back of the paper a few good rolls.
  • Carefully lift up the paper and voila! Your print.
  • Monoprinting is so called, because each print is unique, a one off. You can try to get two or three prints from one 'inking' but they will each look significantly different to your first (but still interesting if you're lucky).