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Liam O’Farrell, Artist

April 19, 2014
by the gentle author

Brick Lane at the corner of Bacon St

Liam O’Farrell delights in painting East End markets in all their shambolic minutiae, often returning to the same subject many times to explore the mutable nature of their architecture and communities.

“I moved to London in 1988 from Portsmouth and at first I spent all my time around the West End, in Leicester Sq and Ed’s Diner in Soho, but after six months it stopped giving anything to me,” he admitted, “My sister worked in the rag trade in the East End and she took me to an old pub and showed me around the streets here, and eventually I moved to Hackney and it felt just like home.”

Living here for more than twenty years brought Liam an intimate knowledge of the streets and kindled his desire to devote himself to drawing and painting fulltime. Yet this realisation also led to his departure. “I realised that if I wanted to do more paintings of London, I needed to not live here anymore, so I reduced my overheads by moving to Somerset in 2011,” he explained. “Now I  come back to the East End every couple of weeks and  I like to draw in short bursts – especially with the cold and the bloody rain – I make drawings for reference and work them up into paintings in my studio.”

In Liam’s pictures, people and architecture are inextricable and, in spite of their apparent realism, these are images constructed from memory – a synthesis of Liam’s perception of a place and its inhabitants, rather than any literal representation. In his affectionate vision, Liam celebrates the intricate details of the markets and the people that make this place distinctive.

Bacon St

Sclater St Market

Corner of Brick Lane ands Bethnal Green Rd

Columbia Rd

Great Eastern St

Whitechapel Rd

Round Chapel, Hackney

St Andrew Undershaft, St Mary Axe

The Cockpit, City of London

Royal Courts of Justice

St Paul’s Choir School, City of London

St Paul’s Cathedral

Liam O’Farrell at work in Fournier St

Images copyright © Liam O’Farrell

Click here to visit Liam O’Farrell’s website and see more

14 Responses leave one →
  1. April 19, 2014

    Wonderful painting I absolutely love them :)

  2. April 19, 2014

    Liam’s drawings and paintings are wonderful, hope we get to see more another time! Valerie

  3. derailroaded permalink
    April 19, 2014

    Dear Gentle Author,
    spitalfieldslife.com is such a delight.
    Please give Mister Pussy a hug from Hamburg.

  4. April 19, 2014

    Thank you for sharing Liam’s work….I love these characters you introduce us to on your blog.
    Looking forward to going to Fournier Street too.
    Happy Easter to you from a very grateful reader of your blog!

  5. April 19, 2014

    I like his special kind of architectual art — and his choice to move out to the country! (I would like to do that too. Somerset is not too bad!)

    Love & Peace & Happy Easter
    ACHIM

  6. Sally Baldwin permalink
    April 19, 2014

    These are simply wonderful!!! The buildings themselves are alive.

  7. Sonia Murray permalink
    April 19, 2014

    Lovely drawings and paintings, thank you! He’s not a cartoonist, he’s a great artist!

  8. Donald Carlton Burns permalink
    April 19, 2014

    Absolutely delightful!

  9. Melissa Hirst Chaple permalink
    April 19, 2014

    Absolutely enchanting, thank you for sharing and enriching my life yet again!

  10. April 21, 2014

    Fantastic work! I’d like to see more!!

  11. April 21, 2014

    Lovely work!

  12. stephen coleman permalink
    April 22, 2014

    Although I never knew the East End, my grandparents lived there for 40 years. You have brought it to life again.

  13. April 22, 2014

    Good to meet you ‘The Gentle Author” and thanks all for the positive comments. Note: I polished my boots especially for my photo!

  14. July 7, 2014

    Delightful! Lovely! A joy to behold! Thank you!

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