There is no class on Fridays, but today we had to go into the studio to hand in the essay. Last night I had planned where to go for sketching today. Lou recommended Ridley Road Market to me when she looked at my sketchbook two weeks ago. It was so sunny this morning that I was determined to go.
In the coming two weeks, Derek is going to go over our assignments and essays, so we have two more weeks off. However, there is an optional assignment. Milltag is going to work with UAL and produce the best jersey designs by the students. This morning Derek briefed us on the concept. The main theme is London. He wanted us to explore the insider's London. He always tells us with immense pride that London is the best city in the world. There is a mix of cultures and races in every part of the city. He mentioned several place names and buildings which I haven't visited. I am not sure if I am going to participate in the contest, but I'll definitely go on sketching London.
I wanted to go to Dalston so much also because I had never taken the overground because in London, apart from the underground, there is also the overground.
My destination was Dalston Junction.
A secret shot of the cute guy.
In the end the train goes underground...
Dalston is located in the northeast of London. Since the turn of the 20th century, immigrants have moved in from different countries, including the Jewish population from central Europe, Caribbean immigrants in the 1950s and 60s. Later the area was popular with the Turkish, Vietnamese and Polish emigres. In 2009, The Guardian chose Dalston as the coolest place to live in the UK.
I have developed a really negative habit. I will prepare food whenever going out, but I can't resist the temptation of interesting restaurants. In the end I eat two servings of food. Bagels are rather affordable, and I yielded to my desire and walked in this very local store.
I ordered chicken pizza bagel.
No wonder most diners couldn't help taking a look at me because I ate the bagel with prawn coleslaw brought from home and my Tiffany blue fork. It was funny that there were a number of middle-aged and old men winking at me today.
It must have been the local atmosphere of the restaurant. When an old man sat down with something that quite resembles our Taiwanese green scallion pancake, I pointed at it naturally, asking him the name of the food. I didn't understand the word, but I still repeated after him. "I'll try it next time..."I thought.
Time to explore the market after lunch!
I had never visited any outdoor veggie and fruit market in London. This is really my cup of tea.
The bright red butcher's.
In front of the butcher's is the incense stand. I was enveloped by the fragrance while I was sketching later.
Lovely children's clothing.
The CD stand.
The hotdog costs only 1.5 pounds.
The small shop on the roadside.
I picked a fabric shop to sketch. It looks small on the outside, but on the inside it's a gigantic world!
When I started sketching, today's very unique experience thus unfolded. First an old man popped out of nowhere asking, "What are you reading?" After he took a closer look, he discovered that I was actually drawing. Then a clerk or maybe the owner from the shop walked to me, also wanting to find out what I was drawing, but he had other more important fish to fry, so he said, "I'll come back my dear." Meanwhile, behind my back on the right side, the fruit seller shouted loud for attention, and on top of me the birds chirped. It was such a vibrant day...
After I was done, the man hadn't come back, so I went in the store. Though he was still busy when he returned, he said to me, "You did a good job. Let me give you a business card." Derek said that our task in the coming two weeks is drawing, taking photos and talking to people. I have to say that this is very fantastic homework.
This is not the McDonald's. It's Mc Doner selling kebab.
Many old gentlemen in the market are good-looking in their own ways.
I was thus attracted by the old man of a vegetable stand to sketch him. He and his daughter couldn't see what I drew, but I didn't notice that their neighbors were observing everything for them. One of them even asked the daughter, Angie, to come forth and pointed at her in the sketch, "See, that's you!" I had never run into such enthusiastic people in London, so I was very surprised today. People tried to mingle with me, and this experience made me think very differently of London.
I once told Carol that Londoners are so used to seeing people sketch. They don't seem interested in what I am drawing. Carol said it's because they don't want to disturb me. People in Ridley Road Market are very natural, and they are certainly different from museum-goers.
The man that pulled Angie along said, "My hat stall is not far. Come to draw mine later!"
I stood across from the hat stall to draw, but the owner of the stall behind me did something that would not stop moving me. He took out a chair wanting me to sit down. That was not the London I knew! Then the black friend of the hat guy came, and he died to be part of the sketch as well. (The chubby man on the left of the image)
Though my figure doesn't resemble the handsome guy, he wanted my sketch very much. I told him that I would give it to him as long as he let me take a photo of it and him together. While tearing the page off, I explained, "I hardly give away my sketches from the sketchbook, so it's very precious and take good care of it."
Surprisingly, there are many fish stalls in this market.
I chose this one to draw, and one of the workers walked up to me defensively.
When I was almost finished, the round owner showed up. He waved at me asking me to show him the image. After he looked at it, he asked, "Why am I not there?" I replied, "You weren't here when I drew." I did my best to squeeze him between his employees, and he said, "Why isn't my face shown?" Then everyone came to chat with me. One of the men asked me if my handwriting is Japanese or Chinese. He said he had been to Hokkien and Xiamen. In the end the owner offered to give me free fish. I told him very politely that I wanted nothing other than drawing. After all, he works hard to earn a living!
I am wondering if it's because London knows that my days here are numbered, it has to present the best sides to me? Luckily I had the epiphany that I have to explore the city after coming back from Budapest, or I would misunderstand this place forever.
On my bus ride home, I had a glimpse of FCKF, which derives from KFC. There is also HFC...When it comes to fakes, the whole world is the same!