Jessica Albarn, writer, illustrator and sister to Blur’s Damon Albarn, catches up with The London Word at the Vauxhall Art Car Boot Fair to discuss her support for conserving the bee population, her new project working with Damon and why she loves Hackney.
Tell us about your work drawing bees
‘I’ve done work on bees for a long time and draw a lot of insects anyway. I got together with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and made some limited edition wildflower seed packets. I would love to keep bees. Hopefully I’ll do something with a local school and once the kids are a bit older I will probably keep some.’
With Liam Gallagher now also campaigning to save the bees, is awareness improving?
‘Yes. I’ve done the Vauxhall Art Car Boot Fair for three years, so on the first year I did it on the bees, I had one of the bumper cars and covered it in bee stickers and people were a bit like ‘Oh, what are you doing?’ They didn’t seem very aware. But that’s started to change now with more high profile stuff going on, with programmes on the TV as well. And it is obviously one of our most worrying ecological things, the impact will be huge.’
What have you been working on recently?
‘I wrote a book, The Boy in the Oak, which is a dark fairy tale that I illustrated and am now writing the second one. I have a couple of other things on the boil and we might make the book into a film as well. We’ve done a short film and the script is being written for the feature. Damon has been involved in the short film. We will have the script done very soon and we will start looking for funding.’
What are your favourite parts of London?
‘I live in Newington Green. I went to college around there so I’ve sort of stayed around north, north-east since I moved to London. I’ve been in my house for quite a long time and have my studio at the end of the garden and having children it’s worked well.
‘I love Hackney, I think it’s a great place. I mean it is becoming more gentrified, which in some areas is a bit of a shame, but there’s still a lot of exciting stuff going on and it’s stull edgy enough. Shoreditch is obviously a bit at the cooler end. But there’s a lot going on, a lot of different flavours. Where I live it’s very Turkish-Cypriot. There are just so many different faces to Hackney.’
The Vauxhall Art Car Boot Fair took place on Sunday 27 May, 2012.