Fine art and architectural photographer, Louise Gough recounts her exhibition with artist Craig Hepworth.
Croydon - Home of art
Two years since my first exhibition at First Floor Space, it seems a great time to take a throwback look at the exhibition and how this art hub in the centre of Croydon has flourished, really benefiting the burgeoning Croydon art scene.
Faces | Places was a long overdue exhibition with my Fine Art Degree buddy, Craig Hepworth, aka @biroboyblog. First Floor Space in Croydon provided us with the perfect opportunity to get this off the ground.
Faces | Places held a mirror up to our hometowns. We wanted the artwork to encourage the viewer to question what is home, why we are passionate about it, and ultimately what makes us care?
I’m passionate about architecture and keeping a watch on the significant changes of the surrounding urban concrete landscape in my hometown of Croydon. While Craig studies the human form, drawing people in their environment. He is often seen in his local Tooting pub with a pen and sketch book in hand studying the faces that make up his town.
In the exhibition, we explored how our respective hometowns were evolving. Through photography and drawing, we took each other’s subject matter and explored the places and faces of the local areas and experienced what makes up each town from a personal and outsiders' point of view. What does the outsider see but the local miss? What does the local love, but the outsider loath? Is it the faces and places that make up where we live – whatever lens we look through?
We’ll that was the overall message we wanted to get across with our artwork at that time. And, First Floor Space was the perfect art hub to showcase this.
Changing architectural landscape
Two years on and I’m continuing to explore the changing architectural landscape in Croydon with my latest study of St George’s Walk and its surrounding buildings. The buildings I focused on are now gone, but my images pay homage to the brutalist era structures with one of my images winning the Architectural Narrative category at the Blueprint Architecture Photography Awards.
Home to the art community
But, with all of the change, there’s one thing that keeps us all grounded - art. The heart of which is a community space such as First Floor Space. This feeling of ‘home’ is evoked whenever you walk into the space. Whether that’s because Charlie, the founder, is there on hand with a welcoming smile and art ideas abundant. Or whether it’s the resident artists striving away at creating stunning artwork, exploring different mediums, running art workshops and continually inspiring visitors and regulars alike. Or is it the semi-nomadic #artclubcroydon that has exploded over the last year and now calls First Floor Space its home one Sunday every month? Whatever ‘home’ is, First Floor Space has provided a welcoming hub for many people. And, whatever the future of the space (it is situated in the Whitgift Centre...), there’s no way it will disappear from our hearts.
So, what is home? Thanks to First Floor Space and the faces that make up this place, it is certainly at the heart of the Croydon community – that’s what home is!
See more of Louise Gough’s photography on Instagram @goughphotography or www.goughphotography.com