Artist D J Roberts Homage To Jonathan Richman Lights Up Waltham Forest

So what is the story behind the ‘I’M IN LOVE WITH THE MODERN WORLD’ neon floating on the roofline of Cleveland Park Avenue, E17? It is the latest installation by artist D J Roberts for Street Gallery – a Waltham Forest Council funded programme of temporary art interventions exploring notions of reciprocity, exchange, generosity and value.

The illuminated artwork takes a line from a song by Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers, described by Guardian journalist Laura Barton as “one of the most magical songs in existence. It is a paean to the modern world, to the urban landscape”.

The glowing text celebrates the ordinary, everyday world around us, and invites us to consider notions of modernity and how we define value and beauty. The heartfelt declaration is a timely intervention as Valentine’s Day draws closer.

Artist D J Roberts says: “I have always endorsed the view of the 19th century critic John Ruskin – that many places seem beautiful, and have the potential for beauty, not because the architecture or the setting is sublime, but because they give us a psychological hit, they capture a mood. They are places where things can happen. And Richman’s use of the word modern interests me. Like him I tend to use the word loosely, to describe that urban world of highways, shopping malls and bright lights which we all know so well, and to which Walthamstow belongs”.

D J Roberts is a graduate of Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design, London. His solo exhibition Runnin’ Down A Dream is currently showing at OMT Gallery, Deptford until 15th February 2014. Other solo exhibitions include Half built edges, Point Blank and What Is It About The Place? at Lounge Gallery. Recent group exhibitions include New York Art Book Fair, MoMA PSI and The Things of Life, Flowers Kingsland Road.

Since September 2012, five selected artists have developed innovative, temporary artworks for the site at Cleveland Park Avenue, E17, enhancing the fabric of the street and creating unexpected interest, challenge and enjoyment. Street Gallery was initiated and funded by Waltham Forest Council, and delivered in partnership with AMP, the 99p Store, Strettons and Cleveland Park Resident’s Association.

Waltham Forest Council is committed to improving high street facilities in the borough, which our residents have told us is one of their top priorities. We want to support local businesses and see them thrive, particularly when we know times are tough which is why we are investing £9million into our high streets and supporting new businesses by creating attractive High Streets and visitor interest to increase footfall. This is all part of our ambitious plans to create a better place for our residents.

Photos: Charlie Milligan © 2014

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