Creative Minds: David Tovey and Liz West

Set alongside the waterfront of the historic Grand Union Canal, Paddington Central offers a perfect natural oasis for those living and working nearby. Calm and relaxing, the environment generates a sense of wellbeing, not only through the nearby waterway, but also the surrounding meadow-inspired planting. Complemented by a programme of creative events, mindful retreats and energising exercise classes, Paddington Central’s individual atmosphere is sustained through the promotion of a positive work-life balance.

The artwork set within our public spaces is a key component of this programme, with two recent installations reflecting on the benefits of creativity. Celebrating October’s World Mental Health Day, our Art Curator, Rosie Glenn, has been taking a closer look.

David Tovey
David Tovey, whose artwork is showcased within the Snøhetta Book Pavilion, is no stranger to mental health issues. A local artist whose connection with the positive impact of creativity goes beyond the usual boundaries, David Tovey often credits his artistic work for saving his life and aiding his recovery from mental illness. 

Paddington Central campus, © David Tovey 2018

Commissioned by Paddington Central to depict our unique location, its waterfront and greenery, Tovey used a variety of media to capture the essence of our campus through his fluid and colourful designs. Set within the oversized book-like pages of the Snøhetta Book Pavilion, Tovey’s illustrations sit alongside artworks created in partnership with PIP (Pursuing Independent Paths) and Hestia, two organisations whose activities bring enormous benefits to community groups.

Paddington Central campus, © David Tovey 2018

Formerly homeless, David Tovey is an artist, educator and activist whose mixed media artworks tackle hard-hitting social and ethical issues. He has exhibited internationally, designed the cover for the Big Issue and worked on numerous community initiatives. In addition, he is the founder of the One Festival of Homeless Arts, an annual celebration that promotes the creativity of the homeless community. The 2018 edition of this event takes place during October with a special World Homeless Day focus on 10 October. Stop by the Diorama Arts Centre at our sister campus, Regent’s Place, to uncover more about the festival. You can also listen to this BBC podcast of David Tovey’s recent Radio 4 programme, The Art of Now: Outsiders.

Colour Transfer by Liz West at Paddington Central, commissioned by British Land; image courtesy Liz West; photograph © Jason Bailey Studio

Liz West
Colour Transfer artist Liz West often speaks about the positive impact of artwork on her personal mental wellbeing, commenting recently that “suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, I find that being closely involved with both colour and light has a hugely beneficial impact on my health. The art I make is almost instinctive, allowing me to experience different spaces and the changing seasons in a positive way – to look deeper and further into the world around me.” West’s first permanent London commission, Paddington Central’s Colour Transfer, encapsulates this fundamental aspect of her practice; comprising multiple angled and coloured mirrors, this radiant artwork offers the viewer a truly uplifting and soul-boosting immersive experience.

Liz West is a Manchester-based artist (b.1985) who graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 2007. Her broad body of work encompasses wall-based artwork, sculpture and site-specific installations. Regularly featured by global publications, she has undertaken prestigious public commissions and has presented international solo exhibitions. Aiming to encourage new ways of seeing and to explore the viewers’ deeply entrenched relationship to colour, West creates artworks which are sympathetic to their site and which aim to engage visitors in an interactive and immersive environment. Recent commissions include Aglow, designed for Fashion Week’s global programme. In addition, during October, Liz is presenting Colour Field, a selective retrospective exhibition in her home town of Barnsley.

Colour Transfer by Liz West at Paddington Central, commissioned by British Land; image courtesy Liz West; photograph © Jason Bailey Studio

Inspired? Why not boost your mind with a stroll to the Snøhetta Book Pavilion, where you can not only see David’s artwork, but also browse the community lending library. Or, make it over to the iconic Westway Viaduct to experience the uplifting and immersive environment of Liz West’s Colour Transfer.


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