Chatham Dockyard Diary Episode 18

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Since June last year, I’ve been keeping a YouTube video diary of my Monday afternoon painting sessions at Billy Childish’s studio in Chatham’s Historic Dockyard in Medway, Kent. Billy kindly invited me round in winter 2013 and I never left. The videos are intended to be exclusively of my solo work, but Heckel’s Horse (collaborations between Billy and myself), Billy Childish, Gretchen Andrew and Huddie Hamper paintings occasionally and inevitably appear in shot. There are 18 episodes so far with a goal of one per week or fortnight.

The round trip from Muswell Hill is five hours by bus, train and foot. More travel time than painting. When I had a car it was two hours depending on the Blackwall tunnel. I know, fascinating. Get the full story in the video below. An interview with Charles Thomson, who in 1999 formed the Stuckism art group (it’s not a movement) with Billy, who left in 2001 having apparently stomached it for as long as he could. I formed The Other Muswell Hill Stuckists in 2006, being its only member until 2008. I first met Charles at an exhibition of abstract paintings at La Viande gallery in Shoreditch around 2005. I mistakenly thought it was a Stuckist show, so went home and berated it and the Stuckists online for being so rubbish and unStuckist. 

Although I’m from Muswell Hill, I like to believe I’m part of a Medway art scene even though no part of it, should it exist, has engaged with me in any meaningful way. There was an exhibition of the studio’s work at Sun Pier House in Chatham a while ago, which I expected would lead to some engagement, but didn’t. It’s like when I was in bands, I assumed we’d instantly be teleported into smokey gatherings of fellow brotherly musicians lounging around on bean bags. You always hear about these ‘scenes’ but the closer you get to them, the clearer it is they either don’t exist or fucking hate me. Out of this though, we have The Black Ivory Printmaking & Audio Club. The closest thing to a real art scene I’ve experienced.

Edgeworth Johstone oil paintings in Chatham Historic Dockyard, March 2023.

The video series advertises my forthcoming Heckel’s Horse Jr. exhibition at Highgate Gallery, London in March 2024:

March 2024:
My next exhibition:
Exhibition Title: Heckel’s Horse Jr.
Venue: Highgate Gallery at Highgate Literary & Scientific Institution
11 South Grove
London N6 6BS
Private View:
8th March 2024, 6 – 8.30pm

Exhibition runs until
21st March 2024

Heckel's Horse Jr. art exhibition at Highgate Gallery in London advert.

Heckel’s Horse Jr. is not to be confused with Heckel’s Horse.

Heckel’s Horse Jr. is an alias used by Edgeworth Johnstone. Under this alias, Johnstone paints works based on Heckel’s Horse paintings in his home studio in Muswell Hill, London.

Heckel’s Horse is a painting collaboration between Billy Childish and Edgeworth Johnstone. Since 2013, Childish and Johnstone have made roughly 200 paintings together, at Childish’s studio in Chatham Dockyard.

This post is also available in my Reddit community, with more photos:


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