Walthamstow in North East London has always been a diverse, artistic and vibrant place, but having lived in and around the area all my life, I’ve seen a few changes take place over the years. The William Morris Gallery, recently opened it’s doors after an extensive renovation (with exhibitions by David Bailey and Grayson Perry) scooping the prestigious Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year. Scores of artists now live and work in the area and the E17 Art Trail (where for two weeks, hundreds of artists exhibit work in shops, pubs, restaurants, studios and private homes) has snowballed in recent years. There is also a thriving music scene, notably the E17 Jazz Collective which features some of the most talented musicians from the local area. The founder, saxophonist Carlos Lopez-Real, happens to be my next door neighbour (incidentally the third sax player I’ve lived next door to!) So when he recently asked if I would undertake a portrait shoot to create some promotional images and possible future album cover, we didn’t have to look too far for some interesting locations. Our first session was shot on a Friday morning, just down the road at ‘Gods Own Junkyard’, which is the gallery and workshop of Chris Bracey. Chris is a world leader in neon art and signage, creating pieces for David la Chappelle, Martin Creed and movie sets for major Hollywood films, as well as having his own exhibition at the Scream Gallery W1. The second shoot was a week later at our local pub ‘The Bell’, which has been carefully renovated, with an interior that now houses vintage furniture, William Morris wallpaper and perfect natural light…

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