Given the fight that is going on between creatives and developers in east London, they might not seem like natural partners.
In fact much of Conrad Armstrong’s work is a protest against the destruction of buildings to make way for apartments.
The 27-year-old said: “I have been in four warehouses since I was 18 that have all been demolished and replaced with unaffordable housing.
“The London Legacy Development Corporation is trying to destroy our community and the studios and the pre-existing community in Hackney Wick that has been there over a decade and is a jewel in the crown of European art.
“They have really culled it and we have galvanised to fight them, in the same way Trump’s election and all these big changes are galvanising people.”
But now he has chosen to exhibit his works, documenting the rapidly changing face of our capital, at Canning town development London City Island to prove artist and developer do not have to be enemies.
“I’m not against change,” said Conrad, ”its a good thing. It’s just how people do it.”
“A problem facing London now is all the ideas are leaving and it is more about destroying things than building.
“One of the reasons I was happy to come to the Ballymore project was because they are building improved venues for the English National Ballet school and London Film School and not just to tick a box or as a PR gesture.
“A lot of my work is against the destruction of things but I felt like they were putting something back in.”
The Hackney Wick resident's work is part of an exhibition to launch a permanent art gallery at the Leamouth Peninsula development. The exhibtion has been created by Ballymore and Unit G Gallery in Hackney with work curated by Maguelone Marcenac.
Visitors will have until the end of March to see work from Conrad's Progress series, such as The machine whirls above feeding debris to the soft creatures below ground – inspired by watching building work by Waterloo Station. And his Tension series, which captures the build-up and aftermath of Brexit.
“The day of the referendum was an insanely stormy day,” said Conrad. “It was a really electric atmosphere and there were all these Remain campaigners out on the street and people screaming in their faces: ‘You’re a f***ing traitor’.
“It was all coming out, the boiled up feeling and it was like a huge storm when the pressure builds up through the heat and then all releases.
“On the day the results came out I went on a painting course to the Isle of Wight and it was a really intense experience leaving our island, which felt like it had become so much smaller, and seeing it disappear onto the horizon.”
The exhibition also includes paintings by Mick Dean and Sade English and abstract sculptures from Gillian Drinkwater and Marie-Louise Jones.
The Gallery has been created in the public areas of The Arts Club, the island’s private members club.
It was the vision of Ballymore’s chairman and founder Sean Mulryan who said he hoped it would deepen the “vibrancy of the community” at the development.
When complete the island will comprise 1,600 homes set over 12 acres, with independent restaurants, shops and open spaces.
An open house event is being held at the development on Saturday, February 11 from 10am to 4pm to showcase properties which start at £499,500.
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