Art Blog
Robert Hockum Lockdown musician. Founder of the Ealing blues festival.

Summer newsletter 2020 - Lockdown musician art!

As the UK prepares to further ease its lockdown restrictions for some, it's time, perhaps, to take stock and see what we've achieved in lockdown.

On the positive side, it's afforded many of us the opportunity to explore our neighbourhoods as we exercise. From my home studio in Ealing, London, I've discovered the joy of walking along the Grand Union Canal - and inspiration for my floral art, as it's a wildlife corridor of great beauty under our pollution-free corona skies.
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Those long walks have also given me time to think about how I can further reflect these extraordinary time as an artist. As I mentioned in my last newsletter, I have taken part in #portraitsfornhsheroes - a great Instagram portrait initiative set up by @tomcroftartist Tom who artists to donate a free oil portrait to a nominated NHS frontline worker, created in lockdown from photographs. I have now completed a portrait of Helen Chiverton, a paramedic who responds in an ambulance to 999 calls in London. Helen sent me a selfie to work from and told me about her job:

“I love it because my patients can be newborn (or in some cases being born!) all the way to the very elderly and everyone in the middle and in every walk and stage of life, and you have to be on your toes because things can change so quickly and are sometimes not quite what they seem. We carry drugs and equipment to treat and help people having medical, mental and social health problems and dealing with situations in people’s houses or in public places can be challenging. At the moment we, like all other areas of medicine and of course plenty of other fields, are finding that everything has changed and is constantly changing as more is learned about this virus. The PPE we are wearing with patients can complicate things, for example by making it much harder to communicate with people, but I am so grateful for it. We are working with firefighters as well at the moment who are supporting us on the ambulances which is brilliant and the AA are also working with us as well as so many other companies and community groups and individuals, we notice them all and are so thankful for them, it makes such a difference!”


I have also been posting on social media my #artistsupportpledge images of some of my favourite actors of the silver screen - Ingrid Bergman, Marilyn Monroe, Vivien Leigh and Audrey Hepburn. The concept is a simple one. You post images of your work to sell for no more than £200 each (excluding shipping). My actor artworks are actually £140 framed each excluding shipping. Anyone can buy them - just click here to contact me. Every time you reach £1,000 of sales you pledge to buy another artist’s work for £200.

#letthemusicplay #saveourvenues

Such initiatives are welcome as all sections of the creative community have been hard hit by Covid-19 - particularly live acts. So, as Resident Artist @TheHalfMoonPutney, I joined my voice yesterday to that of Music Manager @NinaJackson and 1,500 acts and bands – including The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney and Dua Lipa – in calling for urgent government action to protect the UK’s live music industry from collapse. Grassroots music venues need urgent help now to #saveourvenues & #LetTheMusicPlay.

Lots Road Group 'Beyond the door'

In lockdown, the portrait group I co-founded, The Lots Road Group, has been working on an exhibition that will reflect the extraordinary times we are going through. If restrictions are lifted, we expect to stage the exhibition at Waterstones Gower Street’s art gallery from Monday 9 November 2020 to January 2021. The exhibition, entitled ‘Beyond the door’ will show portraiture generated during confinement when our own front doors have had a heightened significance in their dual role as protection from harm and barrier to freedom. The theme allows exploration of both interior and exterior worlds and our subjects’ experiences during the pandemic. It will also nod towards the door as a symbolic portal through which we will enter a new, unfamiliar post viral world.

New artworks - lockdown musicians

As a complement to this exhibition I have been working on a series on musicians in lockdown artworks, reflecting how the music community has been keeping us entertained. So far, I have completed portraits of Marky Dawson and Robert Hockum.

Marky Dawson is a West London based Pianist and Singer-Songwriter. He moved to London to study and started working as a resident musician in Ealing. Before lockdown he was playing 3-4 gigs a week, mainly in London but was willing to travel anywhere which took him all over the UK and Europe. He says:

"Before Lockdown I came and set up office in Dorset. I have been doing weekly Livestreams on Facebook. Where if anybody wants requests they can donate to my online tipjar on Although I can see comments, I miss the audience interaction. It is very strange finishing a song and sitting there in silence! I've had watchers from Canada, US and Germany, so I hope they are applauding at home. I hope once it is safe, there will be lots of support for live music and plenty of events to attend."

Robert Hokum - Bluesmaster, Funkateer, Global Groover and Raconteur. Born in Ealing in 195, Robert grew up surrounded by the local music scene of the 1960's which is now regarded as 'The Cradle of British Rock'. Although best known as a Blues musician, having founded The Ealing Blues Festival, he has worked with musicians of many genres attracting critical acclaim for collaborations with musicians from Ealing's ethnic communities. Robert says:

"Gigging, particularly in local venues, has been an important part of my social life. not only as a musician but also as someone who goes out to gigs. The loss of 'live music' and the possible long-term impact on venues will affect many sectors of the community not only socially but culturally across all sectors of the arts. However, the lockdown has allowed me to re-appraise my music, tighten up on technique and experiment with playing other forms without having to worry about suitability for gigs. But looking forward to getting 'back on the road'".

Coming soon: online shop

But first, the fun stuff!

For one of my favourites initiatives in lockdown, check out the Getty Museum Challenge! Wish I could be so inventive!

So, if you still have a little time on your hands do feel free to browse my own buskers and musicians gallery
At a time when our streets are still empty of buskers and the capital’s music venues are closed, my gallery of vibrant drawings and paintings of performers Link text here...give us hope and remind us of the fabulous music that awaits us. Email price list

AND FINALLY - apart from creating art, the London art collective I belong to Skylark Galleries have been busy during locking creating our own ONLINE SHOP. We hope to have it up and running by the END OF JULY when, for the first time, you will be able to click and buy or, for fragile/bigger works, click and collect my art! Watch this space for news!!

Stay safe, stay happy.