Watercolour artist Ruth Beck on how Islington (and Arsenal) has inspired her

The Emirates Stadium as seen by Ruth Beck

The Emirates Stadium as seen by Ruth Beck - Credit: Ruth Beck

“I’ve taken great joy in researching and reviving the places that are no longer in existence, creating a fresh tapestry out of bygone haunts,” watercolour artist Ruth Beck wrote.

Born as Ruth Harvey in Highbury, the artist moved out of London in her late 20s but she still feels compelled to record earlier memories of Islington. 

The now 50-year-old Ruth has painted more than 100 places across the borough. The community support continues to be tremendous. “It always amazes me how evocative an image of a shop or a pub can be and what great stories and memories it stirs inside people,” she said.

The view of Essex Road

The view of Essex Road - Credit: Ruth Beck

In a “I grew up in Islington” Facebook group, Ruth receives comments from residents who relate to her paintings. In return, residents enlighten her with their own stories. 
She said: “People really get where I’m coming from and they share a lot of the same memories and experiences I have had.

“I will always be an Islington girl wherever I end up.” 

Every painting she completes has a personal meaning to her, recalling memories of her childhood, parents, schooling or husband's family. 

Some of Ruth’s works reminiscent of her days in the borough are: Her dad working as a projectionist at The Screen on the Green cinema on Upper Street, the parrots and monkeys being photographed on Chapel Market, buying bargains from Norman’s Stall on Baron Street, Manzes Pie & Mash shop and the lemon ice cream at DeMarco’s Café. 

New River Walk gates

New River Walk gates - Credit: Ruth Beck

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Ruth’s collection also includes a repertoire of portraits and landscape from her long-time adored football club Arsenal. Sales of all her hand-made prints and postcards have proven to be very popular. 

Ruth concluded that art should not be forgotten. “People working in the art, music and entertainment industries have been pushed aside and forgotten about during the pandemic. It is a travesty. 

“I hope 2022 allows more artists to thrive in the discipline they practise. We all need a little bit of art and culture in our lives.”

To find out more about Ruth’s artworks, click here or visit: www.ruthbeckart.com