Happy Man Tree and London's greenery inspire artist's new exhibition
- Credit: Tom Stallard
An Islington artist is to hold his first solo show, featuring paintings inspired by London’s trees and green spaces.
Tom Stallard is a painter and activist with a passion for the environment. His collection of 18 oil paintings will be free to view in Jimmy and the Bee cafe in Goswell Road.
"I think London trees are amazing because they’re just so sort of hemmed in," he said. "It’s something that really stands out to me when I’m walking round town."
One of Tom’s paintings is inspired by the 150-year-old Happy Man Tree, in Woodberry Down, which was cut down in January despite a months-long campaign to save it. It was named the Woodland Trust’s tree of the year in October.
Although Tom was not directly involved in the campaign, his protest samba band performed there.
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"I just think it’s amazing how these trees survive. I just wonder how they will ever be replaced," he said.
Tom says he is worried about the loss of urban green space, like Euston Square Gardens, which will be partially lost because of the HS2 rail link.
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"On such a busy road, in such a busy part of London, that kind of greenery, those plants are just irreplaceable," he said.
"I just don’t see how we will ever be able to put that back."
Jimmy and the Bee owner Karen said: "The sensibility in Tom’s urban nature is beautiful. The calm sense of renewal and resilience... it’s perfect for right now."
In 2017, Tom left a note at the cafe offering some of his paintings for the space. This year, as it reopened following the lockdown, Karen contacted Tom about a collection.
Tom said he is "just very grateful" to be given the space.
He said in the future he would like to do larger paintings, continuing to be inspired by trees and nature.
Tom will be hosting an open afternoon on Saturday July 24, from 3-7pm.