Artists open their doors to show off a vivid picture Palace

There was art everywhere you look in Crystal Palace – even under the banners signposting the Artists’ Open House weekend

The first Crystal Palace Artists’ Open House event started yesterday.
KEN TOWL went along to see what it has to offer

One hundred and fifty years ago, Camille Pissarro lived on Westow Hill, finding beauty in the ordinary streets around Crystal Palace, and rendered what he saw into art.

It is all very well signposted

Yesterday, I wandered along to the first ever Crystal Palace Artists’ Open House, finding art wherever I looked.

And the art is easy to find, literally signposted (due to the kindness of local estate agent Martin & Co) and in some 35 houses and artists’ studios (“courtyard ateliers” as the event’s website would have it) that cluster in and around the Crystal Palace Triangle and feature the works of some 84 artists.

First stop on my art odyssey was the Do South shop at 2, Westow Street, on the north-west corner of the Triangle, which is hosting a “taster show”.

Armed with a map of venues that I got from Decorum at 67, Westow Hill (and also available online), I set off into deepest atelier country…

At The Do South shop, I found a “taster wall”, featuring a self-portrait by Marty Jessup, who designed the Artists’ Open House logo.

On display at Decorum, 67, Westow Hill, is the sombre, serious work of Dawn Codex. She is “interested in the existential and archetypal feminine”, as you can see.

Nicholas Slim, when I met him, proved rather affable, and even made me a cup of coffee after he sent me over the road to Budgens for a pint of milk.

His work is in a “dark pop art” style, and includes a “transcription” of San Sebastian, and a depiction of Action Man as icon.

In Slim’s surprisingly airy basement atelier, you can get hold of a limited edition print of some dark pop art for £150.

Elsewhere, I found the striking work of the graffiti artist Mr Cenz, whose studio is more speakeasy than atelier, hidden away as it is behind the Roti Brothers’ burger van and above a covert record shop.

Stunning prints (in an edition limited to just just 10) usually retail at £150, but Mr Cenz is offering them for £100 for the duration of the Open House.

His large original works sell for thousands. 

Mr Cenz’s work is not just atelier-bound, either.

He still takes his aerosols out into the streets now and then. There was evidence of this outside.

He hinted to me that he might have worked on some of the walls of Croydon in his time, too.

Ananya Rao-Middleton took up water colour as therapy for Post-Concussion Syndrome and has produced some quite remarkable work with a rather playful tone to it.

She is interested in the depiction of women in art but also, it seems, in the depiction of dinosaurs, which seems sort of appropriate, given the proximity to the Open House of the Crystal Palace Park and its Victorian dinosaurs.

She has a lot to say, too, about the importance of art in the community as a means to communicate ideas whether personal or political.

You can meet her at Jake Dunn, 69, Church Road, where she is selling prints for a mere £10 each.

The quality of street art suggests that there is a lot of talent out there.

This, as noted before, is the first time there’s been an Artists’ Open House event staged in Crystal Palace, and it runs today and also next weekend, May 4 and 5.

What with the weekly street market on Saturday morning, too, there was more than I could see in one day.

I may just be back next Saturday, too. After all, you can’t really miss it.


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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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