The Observer goes in depth on Fish Island, the London artist’s neighborhood that is also ground zero for the coming 2012 Olympics, by talking to Daren Ellis who has opened a gallery there:
“I’m here because of the Olympics,” says Ellis, 42, who has already put on two Games-themed exhibitions, one of them a collection of aerial photography of the site. “There are an awful lot of interesting things happening here because of the Olympics. I’m interested in them not so much as an event but in how they will transform east London and how the vision for the Olympics is being constructed.. The Olympic Park will be magnificent.”
Not everyone is so optimistic. For several years, since the huge successes of the Young British Artists made their once-edgy stamping grounds of Hoxton and Shoreditch wealthier but blander, emerging artists have been moving further from the centre for more affordable space. In Hackney Wick, they felt they had stumbled on a piece of secret London. With a year to go before the Olympics, however, it is secret no more. And, while discovery has brought new money and new interest, it has also brought concern.
For Gavin Turk, one of the leading YBAs and now a proud resident of Fish Island, there is a sense of déjà vu. He says the area’s artistic vibrancy has been recognised by local decision-makers and believes the Games could prove a striking cultural achievement. But, he said, everyone knew 2012 could have a big impact on the local cherished low rents.