‘Creativity can make things happen’ – Wimbledon artist hopes to spark debate with drawings of the area

A Wimbledon artist is portraying the area in 30 drawings to open a conversation on how Wimbledon might look in the future.

Wimbledon artist Jonathan Parker, 50, picked up on growing discontent among fellow residents about these plans and has spent a large part of the past year drawing the district to raise awareness and promote community action.

A nine-storey commercial and residential building may spring up among neighbouring listed structures in front of Wimbledon station, according to planning applications.

Mr Parker, who studied art at King’s College School and has lived in Wimbledon since 1993, said: “Creativity is a positive thing it can engage people, be shared and inspire people, it can make things happen.”

The Neighbourhood Plan, a group he is part of, bring a completely new perspective to the complex issue of planning, seen through the eyes of an artist.

They have also produced a map designating their latest proposal for a new town boundary.

Mr Parker said the group aimed to bring together residents and local businesses to voice their ideas and concerns on Wimbledon.

“The council has consulted residents a lot, they’ve done a fantastic job, and yet they seemed to be saying nine-storey and twelve-storey buildings aren’t anything to be worried about,” he said.

“I wanted to fathom my own feelings about it and experience has told me to tackle what is confusing, I need to draw.”

The south London artist has since embarked on a drawing project which will be exhibited in the Merton art space during the Wimbledon Civic Forum on June 20.

Mr Parker hopes that by walking among his paintings, people will feel immersed in Wimbledon and in his feelings about the town, sparking debate.

He said: “Drawing is a good way to understand time and place, and feelings about it.

“What’s it for? How are you doing it and why are you doing it, how long does it take? Those are all questions that are asked about drawing and can be related to the neighbourhood plan.

“The Wimbledon I want to see preserved is the Wimbledon I use, which is quite simple.

“It’s the library for printing and research, the shops. Without these things I would be stuck, it’s difficult to cope with things going.”

The plan would deal with issues raised by planning proposals to increase building heights.

Mr Parker’s drawings will form a basis for a discussion chaired by MP Stephen Hammond with a talk by Anthony Wilkinson, trustee of the Wimbledon Concert Hall project.

Mr Parker said: “I hope that showing the drawings together and giving some insight into their creation can be a catalyst for passionate and thoughtful debate about Wimbledon; part of a framework to enable the reality of the neighbourhood to be understood and influenced positively by the people who care about it.”

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