Eight questions for writer and artist Gregory Edwards...
1. Tell me a little about yourself…
Parents both came from London, sprawled around the world and I went with them, and lived in many places. One day I moved here and decided not to leave. Art, especially drawing and painting, are very important to me, as well as art history - where better than London to study it?
Other cities have great museums and galleries but none have as many world class institutions where entry to the collections is free. OK, everything else in London is an arm and a leg but to an art lover, London is a great city to be in. Have had a few exhibitions of my paintings here and continue to paint and create when I get the time.
2. Describe London in three words…
Sprawling, special, astonishing.
3. What initially inspired you to write on the subject of London's Art Deco architecture?
I moved permanently to London in 1994 and not long after began to photograph the architecture and details of the city. I was doing freelance work, which took me everywhere in the city, so over a few years I began to realise the incredible magnitude of the subject. I exhibited photos from my 'London Deco' project in 2004 and 2005 and again in 2007, and from 2006-2012 I had a 'London Deco' website. Now I am slowly documenting the vast and varied buildings of London's Art Deco architecture in my eBooks.
These are available for Apple devices, for Amazon Kindle, and for other computers via downloadable Kindle readers. I don't think anybody was using the term 'London Deco' before I started using it, however, a few others have picked up on it of late, so you have to search for it plus my name to find all of my eBooks. It does roll off the tongue nicely...
4. What are your favourite books and films that are set in London?
Though it's not really what you would call a masterpiece, 28 Days Later which snitched rather a lot from The Day of the Triffids, certainly gives you an interesting vision of London. I always remember going to work really early one May Bank Holiday morning and marveling at the sight of a completely empty Oxford Street... then looking for the zombies. These days it's full of phone zombies.
I also loved The King's Speech which is a masterpiece and full of London in the stylish 1930s. Finally, JG Ballard's prophetic, dystopian novel The Drowned World has a brilliant passage in it where the hero puts on some scuba gear and descends into the watery realm that was once London to pay one final visit to a flooded Madame Tussauds.
5. Which London shops am I likely to find you in?
Places that sell Brazilian food, CASS stores, Atlantis Art, Foyles and the RIBA bookstore.
6. Tell me an interesting London fact I might not know…
The controversial modern sculptor Jacob Epstein was daily smuggled in and out of the late 1920s building site of London Transport's offices at 55 Broadway (at St. James's Park station) while he was carving the monumental sculptures of 'Night' and 'Day'. This was due to previous press notoriety, and the press did, of course, eventually find out...
7. What drives you mad about London?
It is ever more crowded, frantic and overloaded, as are most modes of public transport. Thank God for all the parks where you can escape to!
8. Taxi, tube, two wheels or toes?
To get there the tube. To find the marvels of the city you must walk, and keep your eyes wide open.
Many thanks to Gregory Edwards for his time and for providing the images that appear in this post.