Ronnie captures a street and its stories
Artist Ronnie Cruwys has spent three years creating 'close-to-authentic' portraits of Holloway Road
12 January, 2018 — By Emily Finch
Artist Ronnie Cruwys: ‘I want to make a close-to-authentic record of what you see at the moment’
HOLLOWAY Road may not seem the most obvious place for a Staffordshire-based artist to find inspiration but Ronnie Cruwys has been documenting the area’s distinctive architecture and stories for three years.
While at school in York, Ms Cruwys was drawn to the Great North Road, which snaked its way from outside her school gates all the way to Holloway. She loved imagining the stories of those who lived along the road.
When her son moved to Windsor Road, in Holloway, she couldn’t resist putting brush to paper to document his neighbourhood.
“I want to make a close-to-authentic record of what you see at the moment. Hopefully, people in future can look back and see how the street was,” said the 58-year-old.
“I look at Holloway Road and the buildings. They look like teeth missing because of the irregular line. You can spot a run of buildings lost during the war, hit by a bomb or lost by wear and tear.
“We’ve got some lovely buildings, but surrounded by so much traffic you don’t see them. I draw the buildings with elevation so they don’t seem flat. I want to encourage people to look up.”
Ms Cruwys is now matching her paintings with historical accounts and memories submitted by readers of her online blog. She is on the lookout for further submissions.
“History seems to be written by the great and the good but we’re all interesting,” she said.
Her painting of flats opposite the National Youth Theatre became more poignant to her when she learned of Private Harold Ffoulkes, a World War I soldier who once lived there before dying in the trenches.
“There’s just something special about the stories,” she said. “I know when I look back on where my ma used to live, a tiny little place in Ireland, even years after she left it was really meaningful to me.”
After studying architecture at Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University, Ms Cruwys worked as a conservation architect, which cemented her desire to preserve cityscapes.
She would later go on to train as an icon painter – a style which uses highly pigmented paint as seen in Byzantine depictions of Christ.
Her vivid colours bring to life the brickwork of buildings in Holloway Road, with vibrant close-ups of terracotta tile patterns – details often missed in photographs.
To see more of Ms Cruwys paintings go to drawingthestreet.com/