Stella Tooth: Beyond the Door

Stella Tooth is a portrait artist making paintings of musicians who are currently unable to perform in venues due to the pandemic.

"As a West London-based artist, I find inspiration in the capital’s performers, both on the street in venues, and aim to capture the excitement of entertaining live. I'm a resident artist at the iconic music venue the Half Moon Putney, synonymous with The Rolling Stones, where some of my work is on show.

During lockdown, with venues closed and buskers unable to perform, I’ve been working on a series of musicians who have been keeping us entertained on Facebook, or in a socially distanced way in the streets where they live. As words are as important to me as pictures, I asked the lockdown musicians I painted in oils to tell me their lockdown stories.

One such story is by Robert Hokum. Born in Ealing in 1951, Robert Hokum grew up surrounded by the local music scene of the 1960s which is now regarded as 'The Cradle of British Rock'. Although best known as a Blues musician having founded The Ealing Blues Festival, he has worked with musicians of many genres attracting critical acclaim for collaborations with musicians from Ealing's ethnic communities.

Hokum said: Gigging, particularly in local venues, has been an important part of my social life. not only as a musician but also as someone who goes out to gigs. The loss of 'live music' and the possible long-term impact on venues will affect many sectors of the community not only socially but culturally across all sectors of the arts. However, the lockdown has allowed me to reappraise my music, tighten up on technique and experiment with playing other forms without having to worry about suitability for gigs. But I amlooking forward to getting back on the road.

One of the portraits I’m working on will also feature in 'Beyond the Door' an exhibition by the Lots Road Group, an association of portrait artists I co-founded. The exhibition will be shown in the purpose-built gallery in Waterstones Gower Street, Bloomsbury, from 9 November 2020 (COVID 19 restrictions permitting. Please check Lots Road Group website for updates." 

You can see more of Stella's work on her website

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