Thursday, 19 May 2011

Hawaii in Hackney

For twenty long, cold winters we huddled in a drafty Victorian design studio. Our fingers were numb, our toes were frozen but our heads were always in Hawaii as we mixed the miniature pots of liquid sunshine. Vivid, shining greens; luminous, shrimp pinks; hot reds; acid yellows and sparking turquoises were carefully trickled, drop by drop into the airbrush. A little gentle pressure on the trigger and a soft stream of fluorescent colour would emerge to recreate every exotic flower under the sun (and plenty more that Mother Nature hadn't thought up yet - or dismissed as too vulgar). 
The American swimwear market had an insatiable thirst for tropical designs in the 1980s and most of them were painted in our London studio. We have a laugh going into Dirty Blonde on Church Street and seeing all those prints hanging there, that we created. We wouldn't admit responsibility for most of them but there are a few that have withstood the test of time.

Brian painted this years ago and it was reprinted recently for Celine Paris.

I have always wanted to visit Hawaii, imagining it to be a paradise, overflowing with hibiscus, frangipani and orchids. The exceptionally warm spring this year has seen Hackney erupt into flower like never before. Cascades of kitschy roses spill over fences, our hydrangeas are about to bloom - two months earlier than usual, and today, in the park, I noticed an amazing tree that I usually walk straight past. It must have been there for a century but this is the first time I've seen it blossom.
Here's a picture of it swarming with bees..

The dingly-dangly flowers look like upside down lupins.

When I Googled lupin-tree it showed a few sad looking bushes, saying they grow up to 5ft high. This tree is 45ft high. Any ideas anyone?

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