Artist captures the ‘gritty yet fascinating’ flavour of modern-day Holloway life

From sitting in a launderette to observing colourful characters in cafes, artist Caroline Jones has spent months immersing herself in Holloway life and depicting it through a collection of sketches.

The 62-year-old Windsor Road resident was so inspired by the diversity of the people and scenery of the Nag’s Head area that she decided to produce a visual diary, which is currently on display at the Old Fire Station in Mayton Street.

Caroline, who is a professional artist and theatre designer, has created a collection of prints as well as wall hangings made from recycled plastic bags which have all been sourced locally.

She said: “At the turn of the century into the 30s, Holloway was quite a fashionable place to shop.

‘‘There were also banqueting rooms – it was a bit more upmarket and a bit more glamorous. There were a couple of theatres and a couple of cinemas.”

Caroline’s sketches, which were created last summer, reflect the grittier and “grubbier” modern day Holloway in good humour, while at the same time celebrating its past and “re-imagining it, capturing its mood, flavour and sheer mundanity.”

She continued: “I did a lot of looking and became aware of architecture I hadn’t noticed before, like the Bathurst Mansions.

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‘‘I’m fascinated by the layers of history on the high street.

“It interests me how things are built over other things and what is under what.

“It’s not Hollywood, but I like the ordinariness of the place, the fact that you can still find a local hardware store and other useful shops.”

Caroline, who has lived in Holloway since 1998, said another driver behind the project was to give Holloway it’s own collection of art, as it is often seen “as a place between somewhere else.”

The work contrasted hugely to Caroline’s normal “fantasy” art, which largely involves producing scenery, costumes and puppets for theatre, festivals and carnivals.

Her biggest achievement to date has been working on the bicentennial celebrations in Sydney, where she lived for 20 years.

In fact, the exhibition has taken some close friends by surprise. “I’ve done so many sketches over the years. It’s something I adore doing in my private time. It gives me meditative time.

“Friends of mine have been saying ‘I didn’t know you could do this’ as they’ve just seen the big, flamboyant stuff I normally do,” she said.

The exhibition is on until May 27.