Michelle Trepka has re-created a former world at SHOP with her new drawing installation in the Arts Space.
Once upon a time, SHOP was a Greek Restaurant and Michelle took this and other stories from residents and people who remember the Steps in times gone by, to create a series of large scale drawings based on these stories.
Here is 'George' who had a second hand bookshop at 5 Christmas Steps. He was very well known in the city for having a room of 'dodgy' books, which you had to know the special routine in order to gain access to. Michelle has cleverly placed the drawing so that if you turn around you can see the actual doorway in which he used to stand:
This is the original George keeping watch outside of his shop:
The area around Christmas Steps has long had a history of unusual shops and their shop-keepers. Pastimes has been at the corner of Lower Park Row for as long as anyone can remember and is still there - somewhat surprisingly - with is crumbling exterior and rotting window frames. The owner there told Michelle how he used to meet antiques dealers at the Greek Restaurant to buy and sell medals and other collectibles:
Finally, there is our Eddy. Eddy visits shop regularly, he has become a part of what we're about in a way. Sometimes his brings his saxophone or clarinet and sits and plays in the lounge. Sometimes he accosts Spanish or French tourists and uses them to practise this languages. But, the original reason he ever came into SHOP was because he used to visit the Greek Restaurant with his then girlfriend. He told Michelle of a time a resident living upstairs from the restaurant had shouted at him and girlfriend for kissing 'in public' - shocking for the day!
Eddy, today with his picture:
Eddy in SHOP when it was a Greek Restaurant:
The show runs until the 10th August and really is worth a look.