Sign Up for our Newsletter

    • Subscribe to our newsletter


    Artist Allaster Grant tells us how architecture and interactions inspire his drawings ahead of his residence at The Makers’ Market at The Royal Exchange


    During this year’s London Design Festival, we are hosting an array of creative businesses and independents at The Makers’ Market, the first pop-up of its kind at The Royal Exchange, which will be hosted on our grand mezzanine area from Monday 20-Friday 24 September. In a series of Q&As, we get to know the makers behind the brands.

    Tell us about your brand – what do you make and how did you get started?

    I’m an architectural designer and I am currently undertaking a master’s in architecture. The built environment has always been of interest to me. My studies in art were centred around the built environment, thereafter my degree in architecture lead me to explore the traditional methods of draughtsmanship, using pen and ink on paper.

    Later in my life, I developed a passion for meeting people, experiencing moments of interaction, having a good conversation, really getting to know someone or exploring a topic through thought and discussion – that’s an art form in itself. Then encapsulating all this within my work. These interests have often taken me far and wide. Currently, my adventures find me exploring London with my fixie (fixed gear bike), sketchbook and easel, whether it be for a commission or prints.

    How big is your team and where are you based?

    It’s just me, based in South Wales and London.

    Describe the style of your creations in three words:

    Free, constricted, loose.


    Can you explain a little bit about your craft and what makes it so special?

    I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be an architect, so creativity was something I had to explore. Having gained a foundation across a broad range of artistic practices; it was evident to me that the process of drawing was special for me.

    My craft primarily focuses on capturing the architectural and natural environment on location. As an architectural designer and student of architecture, my lifestyle can be very fast paced, meaning that when travelling between locations it’s important to be able to pull out my sketchbook as and when I’m able to. I focus on the skill of drawing and representation, but also enjoy the daily interaction it comes with. Making the decision to stop and draw for two-three hours allows me to pause and be still in an otherwise fast paced routine.

    Whether I’m out drawing or at a market, I end up talking to a lot of people. If you happen to share an affinity with someone – whether my work is the catalyst or perhaps a location we’ve both been to – that’s a really special moment.

    Who or what are your biggest inspirations when creating?

    Understanding how a building fits together inspires some studies, others are about representing the built environment and developing ways of representing different elements of it. Watercolour artist Chris Loyn has been particularly inspirational for my work.

    What can visitors expect when they come to visit your stall at The Royal Exchange Makers’ Market?

    Visitors can expect an array of works from London and South Wales. Products include bookmarks and notelets ranging between £4.50 and £25. Limited-edition prints mounted, framed or rolled, priced between £25 and £250, photography from £30 and commissions from £75.


    What advice would you give someone looking to explore drawing further?

    I would say draw every day and enjoy the process. The work I am happiest with comes from studies where I have been immersed in the process and experience of the place, as opposed to the end result. Repetition is key though and if you have other primary sources of income, finding a way to incorporate it into your life may be challenging but drawing often is important.

    Why do you think it is so important to keep the art of drawing alive?

    We live in an age where technology is swiftly progressing, and life can be fast paced. For me the art of drawing allows me to pause and take in the elements, surroundings and moments that ensue. There is an evident satisfaction from taking the time to be aware in a space and create. If you sometimes find that life is fast paced for you too, this might be a good resolution.

    Do you have a favourite drawing you have created?

    Telephone Box, Partial Autonomous object is the first piece I’ve done that has a theoretical foundation. It was an exciting way to work and something I’d like to do more of in the future.

    This piece identifies the telephone box as meta-object, successfully it replaces its original subject to take on a life of its own and becomes partially autonomous. Once iconic and once functional, now solely iconic. Relics dotted around our city. The drawing outlines the life of the telephone box, from its inception towards it’s unknown future.

    If you could learn any other craft, what would it be and why?

    Videography and poetry. I love films and orchestral music. I find these mediums to be very emotive and are able to clearly engage visceral emotions. I do work with these, but my work is primarily concerned with draughtsmanship at this time.

    A|G Drawings will be in residence at The Makers’ Market at The Royal Exchange, taking place on the mezzanine level from Monday 20-Friday 24 September 2021, 10.30am-6pm

    Read more about The Makers’ Market and the exhibitors taking part here