Here Comes A City

An Interview with Marc Gooderham

As the face of London changes seemingly overnight, local artist Marc Gooderham has made it his mission to capture these views of the city, the architecture of crumbling and faded grandeur, that are beginning to vanish before our eyes. In the run up to his exhibition Here Comes A City, opening February 8th 2018, we took the opportunity to ask Marc about his paintings and his project.

What is your artistic weapon of choice? Pencil, pen, paintbrush, digital….

There are two. Naturally the paintbrush, but also the highly underrated yet extremely versatile piece of chalk!

studio

How long have you been painting and drawing? When did you start out?

As far back as I can remember. As a child I would sit and draw for hours. Still lifes, portraits, intricate buildings using pen and ink. The first piece of art I sold was to my art teacher at school. He kindly parted with £150 for a still life piece. As a kid, this was all very exciting. I tried not to let that first sale go to my head…honestly.

All your pieces come from real locations, mostly in London. What is it about the urban landscape that appeals to you?

I’ve always lived in London, so it’s a place I know and love. A place of intrigue and new experiences. It’s the contrast of old and new and glimmers of a forgotten time that really appeal to me.

Buildings with a fallen, crumbling exterior always hold an evocative beauty. Cities are a physical thing, they’re made up of lines and interesting forms, and the complexities of architecture and perspective can be challenging at times. But it’s all these things that make it the perfect subject to paint. Buildings command our attention. They’re our homes, places of work, places we admire and fall in love with. They help us navigate our way through life.

What is your process for working on a new piece? 

The only real way of getting to know a city is by walking it. Familiarising myself with the street level views. Making preparatory sketches and photographs. Revisiting a potential location at different times of day – sketch as much as possible! It has to have all the right components, which help make the final composition. Light and shade, suggestions of human life, a glow or reflection in a window, lights shimmering in the distance. These all give harmony and unity to a picture. Once these are in place, I begin work in the studio.

You are now working more with chalk pastels instead of painting, was there anything in particular that drew you to a new medium?

Working with charcoal and chalk pastels has been quite a liberating experience. I am still painting, producing large canvas pieces each month, again of the urban landscape.  I will always paint, however the pastel/charcoal lends itself to working quickly and more instinctively, 50% of the picture is created using my fingers.  There isn’t a lot of room for mistakes which adds to the excitement of this medium, speed is of the essence! It’s about capturing a certain feel or atmosphere and ultimately exercising the art of freehand drawing. It gives the artist a sketch – like fluidity.

Do find yourself returning to locations?

All of time. The locations are very familiar to me. Old haunts or places I have lived naturally become the subject of my work. The city is changing at such a rapid pace, there will always be a new discovery.

What is your favourite takeaway?

 Quite simply ‘Babur To Go.

Studio 2

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Know Your Silver?

Here at OCK we are very interested in sustainable, ethical and environmentally friendly practices. We share a space with a yarn shop focusing on the same things in textiles. It is one of the reasons we work with so many local and independent artists. We know that these businesses are ethical because we work directly with them, supporting local jobs and economies.

One of our newest editions to the OCK family is Wild Fawn, a London based jeweller working with ethical silver. But what on earth is ethical silver?! Having chatted with Emma and done some research of our own, we are happy to report back.

Silver_Circle_Earrings_HR_3_Wild_Fawn_Cabbages_Kings
These circle studs are part of the newest pieces that we’ve received from Wild Fawn.

Mining in general is an incredibly harmful and toxic industry. The process of extracting resources from the earth for human use goes back centuries and has a history of environmental destruction, bad labour practices and general dodgy dealings. As we found in our research, information is very difficult to come by, so it is hard to know even now what the true status of the industry is, or even where exactly a lot of the silver comes from. We have come away with more questions than answers, but we believe that raising these questions is what makes us all better consumers.

We did manage to find out a few interesting things though. Most silver (approx. 75%) is used in the production of computer electronics and other industrial items, which has made public pressure difficult. This is in contrast to gold where only 20% goes to non-jewellery uses. This means that it has responded well to campaigns for better regulation and industry change. Did you know that 70% of new silver production is a result of mining other minerals like copper, zinc and gold? The other 30% comes from dedicated silver mines. This is a tricky idea ethically. Some say this byproduct silver is more ethical as it came out of the ground anyway and may as well be used, but that doesn’t change the fact that it was mined in the first place.

One of the best things about silver is its longevity. Since it doesn’t degrade it can be re-used. Silver is easily melted down and turned into something else. Recycled silver therefore is very environmentally friendly if the initial mining process is taken out of the equation. The demand for recycled or ethical silver from the jewellery industry is un-surprisingly high. As Emma put it when she was telling us how she buys the silver that she uses in her jewellery, why wouldn’t you? It is more expensive to buy wholesale, but you can always melt and recycle your own.

Wild Fawn’s recycled silver jewellery includes a line of earrings and necklaces are simple and classic designs, which makes them perfect to wear everyday. Not to mention that the recycled silver makes you feel good about it too! We particularly love the more unusual design of these hammered studs that snake up the ear. Another aspect of silver that we have been learning about from Roderick of Rodology is hallmarking. This is a process where pieces of silver are given a certain set of official marks to prove their authenticity and purity. Any silver items that weigh more than 7.78g (a fifty pence piece weighs 8 grams) must legally be hallmarked by an Assay office. The oldest such office is The Goldsmith’s Company, which has been providing the service since 1327!

We have pieces in again from Daniel Darby, including this Silver Anvil Pendant. The hallmarks on this piece are on the bottom of the anvil.

Silver Anvil Pendant

Last on the list is sterling silver? We use the term the all the time in our product descriptions as a mark of quality, but what does it signify? Sterling silver is in fact an alloy of silver containing 92.5% by mass of silver and 7.5% by mass of other metals, usually copper. The sterling silver standard has a minimum millesimal fineness of 925.

So there we are! Thanks so much to Emma of Wild Fawn and Rod of Rodology for talking to us about recycled silver and hallmarking and bringing it to our attention. We are sure to keep an eye out for more information to share with you.