A bespoke handmade wallpaper for the newly refurbished Battersea Arts Centre.


The design plays host to a rich gathering of BAC characters beside views of the building itself.

Pluto the cat, hired from neighbouring Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, featured on stage in a 2010 theatre production and is so adored he still roams the corridors today. A bronze memorial to a brown dog - a 1906 victim of vivisection - became such a point of contention between medical students and animal welfare groups that it was vandalised, put under 24 hour police protection and finally removed under cover of darkness just four years after its installation.

John Archer, the first major with brown skin, and John Burns, the first major from a working class background, represented Battersea in the early C20th. Amateur boxers, theatre companies and pigeon fanciers all used the town hall, the latter offering me a great opportunity to explore pattern and print.The pioneering women's health campaigner Marie Stopes had a had a cabbage thrown at her here, suffragettes used the town hall to campaign, and BAC's precursor on the site, Elm House, was home to Jeannie Nassau, a radical social reformer of the 1870’s. I was particularly taken to a portrait of Nassau with some exceptionally stylised frilly cuffs on show.

Drawing is key to all my work. I sketch things out many times until I've found the right vibe for each character, and then work the design up to a 1:1 scale. Once I've chopped and rearranged things to form repeats I trace it onto 12 sheets of linoleum to form the whole design. It's a labour-intensive choice but it embodies the spirit of the project; accessible, traditional, and with a quality of line recurring in all my work. I then gouge the forms into the lino to generate a design which can be printed. BAC's original interior was made by craftsmen; I'm just continuing the tradition.

To celebrate the reopening of BAC after its refurbishment, limited edition prints illustrating narratives explored in the wallpaper are available to buy via diddletron.com

Diddletron


By appointment:
nickqs@gmail.com
studio 1
Bridget Riley Studios
43 Dace Road, London E3 2NG