Meet the makers: Ray Stanbrook

Graphic artist Ray Stanbrook extols the delights of south London, especially the chocolate Baileys cheesecake at Brazas restaurant

1. The screen prints you sell – Brockwell Park, Ritzy Cinema, Brockwell Lido – are very much inspired by the local area.
I lived off Brixton Hill for 1.5 years and now in Herne Hill for 3 years. Most of the ideas for the stuff I do are generated by local people and places. That’s why I also love Makerhood – the idea of hooking up local buyers and sellers. I’m exhibiting a print of Brockwell Lido at the Lido – they’re going to put it up after redecorating. My Ritzy print was inspired by a competition they ran to celebrate 100 years of the Ritzy.

2. So you’re a great promoter of this area!
I’ve always lived around here, apart from one year I lived in north London. I spent all my time there explaining to north Londoners how great south London is – they have no idea!

3. What was your graphics training and background?
I’ve been a graphic designer for 15 years, since graduating from the Surrey Insitute of Art and Design in Epsom. I’ve worked mostly on magazines as well as posters, brochures and so on. I’m currently working for Camden Council – it’s always a surprise to be walking around the West End and suddenly seeing a poster or something I designed!

4. How did you get into screen printing?
I did some screen printing when I was at college, but now everything is digital – I just sit in front of a computer all day. Then I found out about Bainbridge Studios in West Norwood, about 10 minutes from my house. After doing a refresher course I can now book space to use the print studios and equipment there. All I have to bring is paper and ink/paint. For me it’s a way out, a release, from my day job. It feels really good to be using my hands and getting dirty, covered in ink!

5. You seem to like combining photographic and hand-drawn images.
That’s true. Sometimes I digitally alter photos or change them by drawing over the top. Then I have to decide which elements will be in which colour and separate out each colour. It’s very time consuming, as you have to wash the screen and recoat it for each colour.

6. So why did you decide to join Makerhood?
I was interested in selling locally. I heard about West Norwood Feast first and liked their approach and the fact that they were generating interest in the area. But I didn’t have enough work to take a whole stall. Then I found Makerhood through Twitter and went to a local meeting to find out more. I was attracted by the idea – and here I am!

7. Finally, what’s your favourite place or experience around here?
Brazas is great. It’s lively but relaxed and friendly, and I can always get a table. I love their desserts, especially the chocolate Baileys cheesecake. However, they seem to have taken it off the menu recently, so I’m campaigning for it to be reinstated!

You can keep up with Ray’s work on his blog. His colourful local prints and bags are available at http://brixton.makerhood.com/ray-stanbrook.

You can also see one of Ray’s prints on show as part of a Makerhood exhibition  at the Lounge in Brixton until 26 November.

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Meet the makers: Laura Ward

Laura Ward takes atmospheric, rather mysterious photographs. She tells us why the creative community around Brixton and Herne Hill is so important to her

1. How did you get started in photography?
I’ve been taking photos for about 15 years. My dad gave me a second-hand Pentax camera to take on my travels around Europe, and I became hooked. I’m totally self taught – I just like to experiment.

2. What sort of subjects do you like to photograph?
I love taking photos of local places and using recycled materials wherever possible. My preferred style is quite nostalgic and quirky, but for paid work, like weddings, the photos obviously need to be technically perfect! I don’t mind taking pictures of people, but it can be difficult to make them stand out – I prefer a more abstract approach.

3. You were involved in setting up a local photography group, Effra FC. How did that come about?
When Flickr started, I put some photos up, and someone in Brixton started following me because they liked the pictures of Brockwell Park. So we met up and talked about the local area. Since then it’s gradually grown to around 100 people! We meet up in the pub every month and we’ve organised exhibitions of our work, including one that ran for three months at the Sun and Doves in Camberwell. We now have our own website, http://effrafc.co.uk/.

4. Being involved with the local community is clearly important to you.
My dad was in the army, so we moved around a lot when I was young. When I moved to London 10 years ago, I felt a bit disconnected from my family and wanted to connect with local people and put down roots. So meeting other local photographers and talking about the area through Effra FC has made me feel more connected with the local area – I love it! And Makerhood is part of the same thing – connecting with other local makers.

5. Photography is still more of a hobby for you – do you have a creative day job?
I work for a charity during the day – it’s all numbers, strategies and databases, not creative at all! But I quite like the balance between this and my photography – yin and yang, if you like. And it’s useful when we’re putting an exhibition together – you need some business skills and knowledge as well as creativity!

6. So what’s your recommendation for a bit of “hidden Herne Hill”?
I love the walled garden in Brockwell Park. It’s wonderfully peaceful and quiet – whenever I go there I completely forget I’m in London. And it’s different every time I go there – I love it!

You can see Laura’s greetings cards, including a set of Christmas cards featuring Brockwell Park, at http://brixton.makerhood.com/laura-ward-photography.

You can also keep up with her activities on her blog.