Ed Isaacs has been immersing himself in a historic part of town, finding ample inspiration for our current Around the Jewellery Quarter exhibition.
His posts on Twitter have been hugely popular, and Ed has been researching the area with his dog Theo…
Around the Jewellery Quarter sees Ed join fellow artists Wayne Attwood and John Shakespeare to pay homage to this heartland of Birmingham design and industry.
Ed has been drawn to the architecture of the district, and also admits to a fascination with the BT Tower.
‘I’ve channelled the great Japanese master Hokusai in my ’36 Views of the BT Tower’ – which is surely Birmingham’s iconic equivalent to Mount Fuji in terms of cultural and mystical significance.
‘Between the 17th and 19th centuries, the Ukiyo-e style of art flourished in Japan. One 17th century writer described it as
‘living only for the moment, savouring the moon, the snow, the cherry blossoms, and the maple leaves, singing songs, drinking sake, and diverting oneself just in floating… like a gourd carried along with the river current…’
‘Hokusai produced the masterpiece ’36 Views of Mount Fuji’ and the quote above expresses how I feel on my walks – a sense of excitement when I turn a corner or a new view of the BT Tower appears above the roofline.
From ’36 Views of the BT Tower’
‘I also experience a sense of wonder at how people come together to create the urban landscape; how a coherent city is created through the actions of hundreds of thousands of individuals.’
Ed’s pictures are often based on multiple drawings of what he describes as mini-journeys through the city.
He has been finding many sources of inspiration as he walks the district with his dog, Theo.
Ed finds Theo the ideal artists’ companion: ‘He is great company, and being a typical setter, is extremely good-natured and sits patiently whilst I draw.
‘Also, because he is a fairly unusual breed, he attracts interest and people come up and have a chat.’
‘We’ve visited the wonderfully atmospheric Key Hill Cemetery. I note from Wikipedia that the Friends of Key Hill and Warstone Cemeteries are campaigning to have it restored. I kind of like it how it is.
‘I’ve also produced a 24-frame drawing of a walk to and from St Paul’s Square via the back of Constitution Hill.
‘Each place has its own magic and resonance. I love drawing and composing the scene, carefully laying marks on paper and applying colour. I find this process means so much more to me than just taking photographs.’
‘I take great pleasure in drawing complicated buildings – Victorian and Edwardian neo-Baroque is my current favourite style, and this has made drawing in the Jewellery Quarter a special pleasure.’
Ed has always taken a sketchbook on his travels but only seriously took up art when he retired, after working as a consultant in social housing.
He joined the RBSA after a friend encouraged him to get involved, and was recently made an Associate after his talent was recognised.
‘Since I took it up in earnest a few years ago I find that art brings a vast amount to my life. I have an urge to make marks on paper, and I find I work every single day on my art.’
Make sure you check out Around the Jewellery Quarter which features work by Ed Isaacs, John Shakespeare and Wayne Attwood, and runs from October 2 – 14.
The RBSA Gallery is the perfect platform for artists at all stages of their career, and many Friends progress to become Associates and Members, as well as Council Members with a say in the Society’s future.
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