To celebrate the launch of the Dr. Martens x Hogarth collaboration, an exclusive event was held at Sir John Soane’s Museum in London. This is where ‘A Rake’s Progress’, the inspiration behind the collection is housed. Press were given a guided tour through the series with artist Ed Gray. Ed is a practising artist and largely influenced by Hogarth’s work.
Give us a bit of background about yourself.
I’m Ed Gray, I make paintings of London life. I’m interested in the layers of stories within the city. I’ve painted New York, Tokyo, Cape Town and Mexico City over the years but London is where I hail from so it means the most to me. I also lecture and teach about my work and the artists that inspire me here.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
My Dad used to show me a book of Hogarth’s prints when I was a boy. I could see how they related graphically to the Tintin books I loved then and I became fascinated by them even though I didn’t understand the wit and empathy that Hogarth uses to tell stories about the London of his day. Now my inspiration comes from drawing Londoners in the streets and visits to see the Hogarth’s in Soane’s collection which still leave me full of wonder. I’m currently working on a series of modern day secular Adoration paintings inspired by the Adoration scenes in the National Gallery.
Dr. Martens have collaborated with Sir John Soane’s museum on arguably Hogarth’s most famous series ‘A Rakes Progress’. Which is your favourite piece from the collection?
I love the leather satchel. It would make a great place to put my sketchbook when I’m out drawing out on the streets.
You launched our Hogarth capsule collection at the Sir Joan Soane’s museum. What are your favourite pieces of Hogarth artwork on display at the museum?
I have always loved the Rake’s Progress but I think the Election Series (which hangs in front of it in the same room) is so powerful and has never lost its relevance to British society in 250 years- it’s about political corruption and those that seek to gain favour with them in order to secure influence.
What’s your favourite thing about the city you live in?
Walking along the shore of the river Thames in Rotherhithe where we live with my little daughter and finding the relics of the past lives of Londoners- pieces of pottery, bottles, clay pipes, all kinds of pieces of the puzzle.
And finally, what do you stand for?
I make paintings of people and I try to tell stories about how we all fit together to make this city what it is. I’m interested in the power of art as a connecting forces in people’s lives.
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