Leith in Black and Red in Edinburgh, Scotland
I’ve chosen to draw the old Furniture Centre which is below the flat I live in. It closed down a little over a year ago and like a lot of old shops in this area there’s plans to turn it into flats. This depresses me as I think it’s much better for communities to have a mix of shops and residential properties.
This is the first image in a series I’m trying to find time to create which has the working title of ‘Leith in Black and Red’. Leith is an area of north Edinburgh – its famous for being Edinburgh’s port and has played an important role in the history of the city and Scotland.
Leithers seem to be very proud of their neighbourhood and it has a stronger sense of identity that any other area of the city. I like it a lot. It’s a diverse, multicultural part of town and there’s loads of great people living here.
Place you live: Edinburgh, Scotland
Place your postcard is designed for: Furniture Centre, Easter Road, Edinburgh (one door up from the building I live in).
Can you sum up Edinburgh: I live in Edinburgh, Scotland. I was born here in 1980 and apart from studying (four years in Aberdeen, Scotland and a year in Eindhoven and Maastricht, Holland) I’ve lived here my whole life. I find it’s a very relaxed place to live – there’s a gentle pace of life that you don’t find in bigger more hectic cities. It’s a great city to explore on foot and even after living here for the best part of 30 years I’m still discovering new things. Through my work I’ve started getting opportunities to travel to some fairly exotic places but it’s always nice to return home.
Occupation: Visual artist / designer / musician
Preoccupation: The city. Unusual architectural details. Urban decay. Street furniture.
What is a perfect day in Edinburgh? A perfect day for me is likely to involve a fair amount of eating and drinking. It would probably start with me and my girlfriend going to Word of Mouth cafe at the end of Albert Street and me eating a croque monsieur washed down with a black coffee while we struggle to finish the quick crossword (we’re not very clever). Then a stroll around Leith talking photos of weird stuff I see in the street followed by a dim sum lunch either at Chop Chop or this great wee dim sum bar that’s opened up on Dalmeny Street. Then maybe catch a bus over to Tollcross and go for a few strong and tasty German beers in Ventoux (one of two Tour de France themed bars that have opened recently in Edinburgh). And that’d probably be me until I staggered home.
If someone was visiting, what must they do? There’s so many great places to explore in Edinburgh. The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a lovely for a stroll around and it’s got nice views of Edinburgh Castle. I also love walking along the Water of Leith walkway from Stockbridge to the Gallery of Modern Art. It’s a beautiful walk by the riverbank and it feels like you’re in the countryside when you’re actually in the heart of the city. I could go on and on listing great places to check out – hmmm perhaps I should write a guide book?
A perfect meal in Edinburgh? Well I’ve pretty much given that away already describing my perfect day but a perfect meal for me is gonna involve dim sum or at very least dumplings of some description.
What is the best thing about the place you live? The people.
And the worst? I won’t go into this in detail here as it requires a longer discussion but there’s a certain apathy that exists in some aspects of Edinburgh that I despise. Don’t get me wrong, I really love this city and a lot of the people who live here, but of course it has its downsides just like anywhere else. The city council have made some really bad decisions that have badly effected the arts. The price of rent in this city is really high and I think that has the knock on effect of stifling creativity. Right I’m gonna stop this rant.
Where is your favorite place in the world? My parents own a cottage and a little bit of land up in Perth and Kinross-shire. It’s a beautiful place in the country.
Who are your three favorite designers/illustrators? Unsurprisingly I’m a big fan of Evan Hecox. Locally there are some great folks too. I really like Glasgow-based illustrator David Galletly and ex-Edinburgh citizen Nigel Peak.