An artist from Islington will host his first solo exhibition, featuring paintings inspired by London’s trees and green spaces.
Tom Stallard is a painter and activist passionate about the environment. His collection of 18 oil paintings will be on view for free at the Jimmy and the Bee Café in Goswell Road.
“I think the trees in London are amazing because they are so surrounded,” he said. “It’s something that really strikes me when I walk around town.”
One of Tom’s paintings is based on 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 Tree of the Year by the Woodland Trust in October.
Although Tom was not directly involved in the campaign, his protest samba group 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’s worried about the loss of urban green space, like Euston Square Gardens, which will be partially lost due to the HS2 rail link.
“On such a busy road, in such a busy part of London, this kind of greenery, these plants are just irreplaceable,” he said.
“I just don’t see how we can ever put this back together. “
Jimmy and Bee’s owner Karen said, “Tom’s sensibility in urban nature is magnificent. The calm sense of renewal and resilience… that’s perfect right now.”
In 2017, Tom left a note at the cafe offering some of his paintings for the space. This year, when it reopened following confinement, Karen contacted Tom about a collection.
Tom said he was “just very grateful” for the space.
He said that in the future he would like to do larger paintings, continuing to draw inspiration from trees and nature.
Tom will be organizing an open house afternoon on Saturday July 24, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.