One thing I'm particularly enjoying about London is its vibrant events calendar. Every day Twitter bombards me with details of theatre performances, exhibitions, farmers' markets, food festivals and more listings than I even have time to read, let alone attend. But in these listings, it's often the big events that stand out - the ones with the PR power behind them. Smaller or more low-key happenings in the capital can be difficult to discover through the usual channels such as Time Out or the print media. So, when details of Lizzie Mary Cullen's first solo show at Artefact: The Framers' Gallery kept popping up on Facebook, I thought I'd steer my crash course in getting to know London away from the main monuments for the afternoon.
A multi-award winner aged just 24, talented Cullen's work has been featured in Design Week and Blueprint and exhibited internationally. The London-based designer chose her current hometown as the location of her first solo show (in aid of The Big Issue), bringing Artefact: The Framers' Gallery to life until 25 September with her eye-catching cityscapes and some playful murals penned directly onto the gallery's walls. And with Daniel Radcliffe in attendance on opening night and a commission to enliven the walls of Italian restaurant Zizzi under her belt, Cullen's exhibition seemed well worth checking out.
Now, I'm not exactly what you'd call an art buff: I enjoy visiting galleries if the works on the wall catch my imagination, but I certainly can't spend a whole day in one (as those who recall my half hour visit to the Guggenheim will know). Fortunately for me, the petite Framers' Gallery definitely didn't require hours of perusal. Around 30 of Cullen's works are currently hanging on their walls - just enough to keep me occupied for a while, and to leave me wanting more.
Cullen's psychogeographical drawings of London and New York feature recognisable monuments and scenes transformed into almost fantastical representations, drawing the viewer's eye into her swirly designs. In addition to buildings and areas we all know, such as the Royal Exchange and Canary Wharf, Cullen's black and white designs also bring to life areas such as Peckham and New Cross Gate, presumably drawn when she was studying at Goldsmiths. Also present was a captivating drawing of the 453 bus route: apparently Cullen likes to sit on the top deck of London buses and sketch what she sees, transforming it into her psychogeographical style. A particular favourite of mine was the one colour drawing, of a fantastical cycle ride through London, with details of the story behind it inscribed in the bottom right-hand corner. Her designs animate the city, showing it from a fresh perspective and inviting even the most casual observer into the landscape to explore.
- Lizzie Mary Cullen's solo show is on at Artefact: The Framer's Gallery (36 Windmill Street, London W1 2JT) until 25 September. Nearest tube: Goodge Street.