Hackney artist draws inspiration from London Olympics

A HACKNEY artist who has Asperger’s Syndrome has been documenting the work on the Olympic site using a pencil and sketchbook.

David Downes, 39, of Stamford Hill, has been given special dispensation to go onto the Stratford location where the London Olympics will call home in 2011 and draw the work.

An exhibition of his work has now opened at City Hall which also includes bird’s eye views of some of the capital’s most famous landmarks.

David said: “I have this ability to visualise the cityscape from a bird’s eye perspective, and often paint my scenes of London from an imagined aerial position.

“In this way my work is a vividly detailed meeting of realism and imagination.

“London is a city full of contrasts and that fascinates me - ancient history rubs shoulders with cutting edge modernity; jostling architecture gives way to open parkland.

“I was particularly excited to be able to record the Olympic Park under construction.

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“An extraordinary transformation of the city’s landscape is taking place there and I think my work captures that energy.”

David still heads down to the Olympic site when he can and plans to continue doing so until the games begin.

“I first went down two years ago. A friend of mine had some contacts where I could get around the park,” he said.

“It’s changed so much since then already. Often I take photos with my phone and then work on it at home but sometimes I work from memory.

“The ODA (Olympic Delivery Agency) has been very supportive letting me go on and it is a great project to take on.”

The exhibition, London Seen, is on at City Hall in The Queen’s Walk, London SE1 from January 5 – 28. Admission free.