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A chat with local illustrator Matt Ponting

Next month RAD will host local illustrator Matt Ponting for an interactive exhibition featuring up to 40 of his original creations, focused on various landmarks and architectural gems found throughout the Royal Docks.

Matt is a local resident from Beckton Park and loves nothing more than cycling around East London and soaking up the architecture – you can find his art available at locations including Tower Bridge and the National Gallery.

We caught up with Matt to find out a bit more about his forthcoming exhibition, which takes place in Building 21 at RAD from 31st Aug – 29th September, Friday to Sunday: Midday – 6pm.


What made you choose RAD for your next exhibition?

I have lived in the Royal Docks for two and a half years and I adore the place. It is wild, filled with nature and by the waterside.

It is also architecturally interesting, filled with a rich mix of historic buildings and new, post-modern architecture that I really think makes it stand out from the rest of London. The docks were the centre of the world for a while, which is coming back in a new and exciting way and I am really excited for my art to showcase that.


What do you hope your audience can learn from your illustrations?

I am hoping to really bring the community together so that they have an opportunity to learn a lot more about the fascinating history of the Royal Docks, as well as its present-day regeneration.

I’m also hoping to captivate audiences beyond the local area, for example people that may know next to nothing about the docks. Unfortunately, there are many people out there who aren’t that familiar with all the exciting things that have been happening here in recent years.


What is your favourite thing about living in the local community?

It is a vibrant community where you can watch planes soar overhead, walk in nature, and pass time by the water’s edge.

I am a member of the local swimming club, swimming regularly open water in the docks, and recently attended the Dock2Dock race. The great thing about the Royal Docks is that the communities around here are growing and changing, but the gaps haven’t been filled in yet. Everywhere else in London is overdeveloped, but here you have wide open spaces and an opportunity to be really imaginative and creative. You also have history here, but the architecture, the community and the people are all starting afresh, which I find so invigorating.


What are the main subjects featured in your exhibition?

I am going to develop a walking map that will allow people to come here and explore the local area. My illustrations will feature local landmarks and nature spots, including one of Royal Albert Dock itself. I really want people to see that this is a fun and exciting area with so many interesting facts, and to be inspired by this community – like I was when I moved here.

There will also be a chance for people attending to take part in a doodling competition at my workshops. If they post their photos on Twitter with #doodlingthedocks, they’ll have a chance to win one of my originals!

More info on Matt at doodlingaround.co.uk

More info on Join The Docks at https://www.royaldocks.london/whats-on/join-the-docks

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