By Paul Hackett
I first became aware of Hackney Wick over the last year or so and went once or twice for lunch. Last year I went to the Hackney Wicked arts festival held there and was struck by how raw the place felt – none of the normal sensibilities of any London arts event I had been to. The event had an energy to it which for some of the time didn’t feel entirely comfortable.
I went for a wander last weekend to have a look at the place and take some pictures – I was interested in this enclave of artists nestling so close to the massive modern structure of the Olympic park.
As soon as I got out of my car I could see two young men painting a mural on a wall – not an everyday sight on London’s streets – but it looked entirely normal. In fact when I got close to them I could see another couple of artists doing the same thing further up the road.
Artists are attracted to the area because of the relative cost of space and Hackney Wick now boasts the most densely populated area for artists in London. Between the artists studios there are warehouses, factories and churches.
The place is bustling with people from all over the world, but because it has no through road you have to be going there for a reason. As a result it feels peaceful – like a massive industrial village in the heart of east London.