Life on the wall

Samuel Johnson famously quipped, ‘When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.’

And so what better way to depict the bustling, hectic and brilliant city but through a medium that really can be all around us: wallpaper.

The London Life exhibition opening today at the Art Workers Guild, central London, celebrates the city through this sometimes overlooked medium.

Wallpaper History Society Flyer
Wallpaper History Society Flyer

The show features wallpapers and pieces resulting from a competition, set by the Wallpaper History Society in conjunction with Zoffany Wallpapers, for Surface Design students at the London College of Communication.

The final shortlist of six students work will be on show, as will a piece from last year’s winner.

Kate Duggan
By Kate Duggan

The pieces on show explore the theme of London through associations with social, cultural and religious identity, with a mixture of interactive, playful, iconic, textural, vibrant and dynamic wallpapers.

One of the shortlisted students, Clare Marshall, took inspiration from the Jewish Orthodox communities in London.

Claire Marshall
By Claire Marshall

She says, ‘I took ritual objects and symbolic Jewish colours. In London there’s always movement, but it’s also rainy so I played on that dripping element.  With Tube trains and buses always whizzing past, I used that blur of colour for the technique and mixed that with Jewish ritual objects for the symbolism.’

She adds that she usually takes inspiration from nature, but enjoyed looking at the urban landscape for the competition.

Marshall used ink, dyes and bleach for her work, whole other students’ work includes digital elements, interactive wallpaper with pieces that can be pulled off, and more textural works using materials including orange peel.

Emma Van Diggele
By Emma Van Diggele

London Life is open form 22 November – 5 December at the Art Workers Guild, 6 Queens Square, Bloomsbury, London WC1N.

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