Dameon Priestly: London Portraits

London Portraits is in two parts:

The first part of the collection is – ‘Life Sentences’, in a series of 9 paintings – looking at 2 people who are a loss to the London west end cultural platform (former landlord of the French house, and former landlady of the Colony Club). . . added to this are the other 7 who are keeping London alive – quietly doing what they do, with a respect and understanding of London’s creative and cultural history. The idea of a ‘movement’ does not really appear as it did in the past. (The Camden Town Group, The Bloomsbury Set etc), but a movement is rarely recognised as such until after the event. A retrospective acknowledgment and labeling and contextualisation takes place. The people I have chosen for these 7 sittings are a diverse cultural group- a photographer/ writer/ restorer/ bookbinder.

A journalist/writer. A tattooist, A 6th generation tailor. A basement bar owner in soho. An international session stylist. And last- myself! (My first ever self portrait btw) – to come.

I see these people as vanguards for story telling and historical/ cultural ‘documenters’. The important thread binding all of the subjects – is this understanding and appreciation of what went before- an interest in all of the facets of history, politics, social change, literature and art. Keeping the soul of London as diverse and as interesting as it always has been- in spite of the continuing homogeneity of the west end and soho.

The second series of portraits is a look at those free spirited, creative individuals from the 1980s, who went on to become style & cultural icons in their own right- in the fields of art, dance, design, music and performance.