01 March 2010
The art of cycle rides: Ed Gray
We're fans of artist Ed Gray. His paintings of London nicely portray the city, as it seems to us, with authenticity and wit. Ed's a Real Cyclist himself, as you can see from the bikes he occasionally smuggles in to his pictures - see the taxi driver shouting at the one top right, and the luckless roadster toting a pothole-damaged wheel bottom right (both pictures ©Ed Gray, www.edgrayart.com).
Ed paints other cities in a similar style in countries such as South Africa, the US and Japan, which he explores by bike too. In an interview in London Cyclist magazine in 2007 (Feb/Mar issue, p42, which also featured one of his paintings on the cover), he rated his best world city cycling experience as Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan. The worst? Elephant and Castle.
Some of Ed's paintings are on regular display in GX Gallery in Camberwell. We like this place, especially as they let us bring our bikes inside on a filthy wet day on our last visit, surely knowing that the chances of us having a grand to spare for one of their fabulous works was slim. And, from 24 March, more of his pictures will be part of a City Hall exhibition of pictures of London.
You can also see some of Ed's work at Shortwave Cinema bar and cafe in trendy Bermondsey Square, home of London's coolest bike shed. A new set of his pictures is going up in Shortwave in time for this Sunday (7 March) afternoon's ride to celebrate International Women's Day, which will begin and end at there. Parochial men can presumably just go straight to the bar.
This Sunday seems to be the start of London's public leisure-ride season. The Cycle East festival is running free gigs round various bits of the city which you are invited to ride between. The music includes gypsy, rap (which I'll be cycling away from pretty fast) and something called alt-folk. (I'm not good on genres. Is there a control-alt-prog rock? I might like that.)