Laurence Owen
'Arthurs all of fame'

Originally from Stroud, Laurence moved to Hackney 5 years ago. He likes the creative possibilities in the East End, commenting on the number of galleries and cheap studio spaces. As an artist he takes images and symbols from everyday life and re-casts them in the traditional medium of oil paint. His mix of visual references often results in paintings that teeter between abstract and figurative. For Arthur’s Cafe he has drawn a series of portraits depicting historical figures called Arthur, incorporating Arthur the cafe owner into this pantheon alongside figures like King Arthur and the playwright Arthur Miller. “It’s about putting all these Arthurs under the roof of Arthur’s Cafe. Arthur Woodham is well known in Dalston and these drawings are a small tribute to him on his own territory.” For the window image he re-created an old family photograph showing Arthur 
with his father and brother.

Arthur’s Cafe,
495 Kingsland Road

Arthur Woodham, born in Bethnal Green, opened his cafe here in 1948 when he was 21 years old. Before that he worked in his father’s cafe on Kingsland Road, where he served tea through the night during the Blitz. His grandson James now runs the cafe with him, having worked here since he was 12. Arthur says, “My business hasn’t changed except that now I serve more salads. Apart from that, I’ve been serving the same food to the same customers for 40 years.” Arthur will be 85 on Christmas Day this year.