High Road Lights up with local art

Did you notice some colourful new artworks while waiting for the bus this weekend?

Future Visions, is the result of a collaboration between Hounslow Council and local artists. It went up on Sunday and will be shown across the borough on digital screens for the next two weeks, aiming to brighten up our streets with bold and hopeful works created during the pandemic.

Miguel Galue,  Reaching for the Sun. Photograph Lucinda MacPherson

Miguel Galue, pictured above holding his work Reaching for the Sun, lives near the Russian Church in Chiswick. Originally from Venezuela, Miguel moved to Chiswick in 2007, attracted by its green spaces and the river.  You might have seen him around, as he prefers the immediacy and energy of outside space when painting or sketching. Although he studied for a short time at The Slade School of Fine Art and originally trained as an architect,  Miguel describes himself as self-taught, and credits London Transport as his classroom, where he often gets out his sketch books to draw the passengers.

He also sets up his easel by the Thames, and one of his favourite paintings is an acrylic sketch on canvas called Pink River, “I love the river, it’s a place of meditation. I went there to relax, especially during the lockdown and the painting captures that sense of peace.”

Miguel holding his favourite painting of the river. Photograph by Lucinda MacPherson

“Going to all the museums and galleries in London was also a great way to learn from the masters themselves.” Miguel has a particular passion for the landscape artist J.M.W. Turner “When I visited Tate I became obsessed with his work and his sketch books, which are so inspiring”.

Miguel originally studied architecture in Venezuela and was a musician, but when he felt  his home country had became too violent and dangerous in 1998, he made his own way, alone, and at the age of just 18, to the United States where he fostered ambitions to make his living as an artist, before coming to London in 2004.

The work chosen by Hounslow Council to go on display across the borough is a departure from his usual style, as he explains,

“My work is quite fluid, I am a very restless person. I do a lot of line figure painting, but also mixed media and collage. This piece is a bit different from my usual work; it’s quite abstract and not realistic at all. But when you break out of your routine you find surprises. It’s literally a very quick drawing in pastels and I just did it during the pandemic.

“I was having a really hard time and, just like everyone else, I lost a couple of family members, and this simple drawing of two arms reaching out to the sun is a basic expression of us wanting to come out of this and see an end to what we were going through. It was expressed in the simplest manner. Very raw.”

He has signed the painting Piqueras, which was his maternal grandfather’s surname.

“He has been an inspiration in my life in general, but in recent years he was really encouraging me to pursue my art with everything I had.”

“About five years ago, we had a good chat about art at his home in Madrid over a glass of wine and he shared with me some stories about his trips through France and Paris in his youth. On that day, I told him I had started signing my latest work with his surname. I am very glad I had that conversation with him as he and my grandmother both passed away during the first wave of the pandemic.”

“In one of my recent trips to Madrid, before the pandemic, I visited him at the Retirement Home and he told me in private to go into his closet and bring back to London four framed sketches he received in Montmartre during his trips; these pieces by artists Michel Simonidy and Antoine Mayo are now hanging here at home and are a constant source of inspiration and remembrance – they definitely inspired my Reaching for the Sun piece.”

“I didn’t expect it to go this far and be exhibited like this. But I hope people find a message of positivity in it.”

Miguel’s and other local artists’ work can be seen on digital screens at bus stops near Prebend Gardens, the Power House, Mayfield Avenue, Brackley Road and Windmill Road for two weeks and will be exhibited in libraries across the borough thereafter.

LtoR Giacomo Giannelli, Blue Flower; Krystle Patel, Bewilderment of the Vanguard are also in Future Visions

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Turner’s English Coasts

See also: Harold Pinter lived in a small flat in Chiswick High Road, the inspiration for one of his greatest plays.

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