02: The Painting

Enter the flat and the first thing you see is a painting.

Once upon a life ago I led a completely different existence to the one I do now, I had studied 3D furniture design at the Kingston-Upon-Thames School of Art and Design and had worked my way up and eventually was successful enough to be able to finance a workshop with a friend designing and making built-in furniture for the rich and famous – London is full of them.

They were exciting times, among others we worked for: the Rolling Stone’s management, including Bill Wyman himself, Paul McCartney’s management, Anna Ghomi interiors, Tina Turner even personally cooked us a full English breakfast one Sunday morning, she didn’t have to, she had servants to do that sort of thing for her,  she stood there frying eggs and bacon chatting with us, it was surreal, and it left a huge impression on me, the character of the woman, because since moving to Germany, many people I’ve met here who in a similar situation feel it beneath them to even offer a cheap cup of coffee, in fact I even had the experience here in Berlin that a client ,who was feeling peckish, decided to eat my lunch for me, and was incensed when I complained about it, because obviously I then had nothing to eat all day – fat fucker.

Anyway, I digress . . . I had shared a house in Kingston with someone on the fine art course, Jack Hicks and we had somehow kept in touch, and one evening he invited us all to an exhibition of his work at a local wine bar or somewhere similar.

I liked his work, I still do,  and as it was all for sale and I was flush with money at the time, I bought this painting.

No. 11 “LOVERS” (Pastel Painting) £140

It’s been on one of my walls ever since.

It reminds me of everything I loved about living in London, of friends, of the work I so enjoyed, and yet the subject matter itself has curiously evaded me, I am now close to no-one. 

During the whole of this Covid pandemic no one has contacted me, not even family, not a single call all year.

The Lovers. hanging there, it’s the longest relationship I’ve ever been in, and like losing a limb, I would be devastated if anything ever happened to it.

Excerpt from the exhibition catalogue – c. 1987:




These are some of the paintings and prints I have produced over the past three years. The style of most of them is derived from cubist painting, which I still find one of the most interesting of modern “isms”.

Some of the prints are based on Bronze Age art, which has some surprisingly modern ways of representing the world.

Most of the landscapes are of Salisbury Plain, near which I was born and grew up, and the figures are explained below where necessary.

No. 11 “LOVERS” (Pastel Painting) £140

Artist: Jack Hicks

Anyone interested can find him here:





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01: The Flat

I’m of the opinion that there’s nothing that can’t become the subject of a photo-project, it’s only as mundane as the photographer makes it.

But now during lockdown. with the fear of arrest, coupled with a lack of suitable subject matter, it will curtail the activities of most street photographers, so, what to do instead?

Now that going out has become rather difficult, why not turn our attention inwards instead, and study ourselves?

The time capsule: The flat

Who would have thought that it would come to this, everyone on the planet unexpectedly given a front row seat to observe at close quarters how evolution plays its deadly game of survival, that of natural selection.

The only defence against which, being a global lockdown, is social distancing, which means everyone stuck at home binge watching TV-series on Netflix, or for those requiring a more challenging pastime, reading perhaps, finally time to brush up on those forgotten classics of modern literature: Darwin’s Origin of the Species.

Confinement on this scale brings its own problems, mental issues caused by prolonged social isolation, an economic downturn of truly epic proportions, but what other choice is there?

Although there are tragically casualties, most do survive, but it’s similar to a huge lottery, and everyone has a ticket, there are winners and losers, and it’s all a perverse accident of genetics, and while vaccines are hurriedly developed to aid a return to normalcy, the virus starts to mutate, almost certainly a result of the lockdown itself, because even the virus is slave to the same evolutionary pressures, and as transmission becomes more difficult, it too will probably evolve into ever more virulent strains.

This virus will almost certainly never be totally eradicated, and just like the common cold or flu, it’s here to stay.

But now, sitting in our own four walls, what is this box called home we’re all living in?

A flat, a house, it’s not just an assemblage of rooms, because just like a museum, it houses a collection of items that defines our life up to this present point in time, it’s a time capsule, where objects and their associated memories lie in wait with every turn of the head.

Every object says something about its owner, or is the gateway to private memories, by their very definition always a reminder of the past, some good, some bad, an object can at best encapsulate our hopes for the future.

Furniture, pictures, odd pieces of junk, everything has a tale to tell.

This is a COVID lockdown ramble through my own time capsule, but first, some background, the flat itself 

Home, sweet home

I’ve been extremely lucky, I live in a gorgeous old house in Wilmersdorf, just a short walk away from the Ku’damm in the center of Berlin.

The flat is on the ground floor, so, no climbing nasty flights of stairs every time I need a loaf of bread, and the flat also has a 50m garden front and back to look over – does living in a major city get any more rural?

Next time … the painting

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© Andrew James Kirkwood – 2020

© 2021 - Andrew James Kirkwood

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