Paradise by way of Kensal Green

For a time I shared a flat with the Japanese illustrator, Satoshi Kitamura, above an abandoned shop at the top end of Ladbroke Grove, just across the Regents Canal from Kensal Green. My grandmother is buried there, in the family grave at Kensal Green Cemetery. That was an introverted time; the cemetery came to monopolize my imagination. I ended up making a series of works about it; animated walks through that sepulchral landscape. So hereĀ is my sketchbook from then, filled with flip-book maps of the cemetery layout. Later I came across GK Chesterto’s poem, The Rolling English Road, which ends with the line “Before we go to Paradise by way of Kensal Green”. I have never forgotten the feel of that place, or the series of nocturnal Kodachrome images I made of the area, colour saturated, focus blurred. I am still hoping to come across those Rorschach pictures in this studio clearout. Fingers crossed. In the meantime, I have found the illustration that Satoshi drew to go above our dilapidated loo, showing how to flush by pulling a rather grotty piece of cloth tied to the cistern! [Remember Satoshi?]

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