This Caricaturist Is Drawing A Tube Station-Related Celeb Every Day Of 2020

This Caricaturist Is Drawing A Tube Station-Related Celeb Every Day Of 2020

Artist Simon Ellinas has set himself a challenge for 2020; every single day of the year he's drawing a caricature of a celebrity, related to a particular tube station.

Actually, he's doing slightly more than one caricature a day. "The total number of London Underground plus Overground stations is, I think, 382, which makes just a bit more than a year's work on a daily basis," Ellinas tells Londonist.

"As a born and bred Londoner, I know London and the Underground quite well and the fact that it is fairly generously populated by celebrities from all arenas, makes it an ideal project for me to showcase my work."

Former Speaker of the House, John Bercow, was a Finchley boy

Ellinas has a track record of doing this kind of thing: in 2019, he sketched out a different caricature for each day of the year in his diary on their birthday — including Londoners like Sadiq Khan, Kate Bush and the Kray twins.

This time round, the celebrity must have a link to a part of London with a tube station.

"Eddie Grant, or more correctly, EddY Grant actually lived and went to school in Kentish Town."

The links are not always the most obvious. So, while Eddie Grant might be famously associated with Brixton's Electric Avenue, he actually lived, and went to school, in Kentish Town.

"Although Amy Winehouse is widely known to have been a denizen of Camden Town, she was born in Southgate and lived for a while in East Finchley."  

Likewise, Amy Winehouse had strong ties to the social scene of Camden — but also lived in East Finchley for a while. Says Ellinas, "I could have drawn Peter Sellers, but he really does have quite a boring face and George Michael, who was also born there, might well be on my radar for Hampstead."

"As the project travels through the central London tube stations," says Ellinas, "the celebrities are becoming more literary and historical, proving that the suburbs are the places that modern day pop stars and actors tend to move to."

There are plenty of candidates for Camden Town but I plumped for poet Dylan Thomas. Dylan Thomas and his new bride Caitlin MacNamara lived at number 54 Delancey Street, Camden Town, with their three children, in a three-room basement flat from about October 1951 until their departure for a lecture tour in America in January 1952. In December 1951 Thomas wrote of "our new London house of horror on bus and night lorry route and opposite railway bridge and shunting station".

Ellinas gets a feel for his subjects and their their nose/cheekbone shapes, etc, by studying a range of photos. "I have been known to draw on the tube," says the artist, "but it is not the shakiness that is a problem — I feel that it may be intrusive to draw people without their permission and as we Londoners never speak on the tube, there is a little psychological barrier there!"

Rod Stewart is a big fan of trains - model trains at least, so he'd quite possibly love this

Here are some of the Londoners that Ellinas sketched in his 2019 diary:

Check out more of Simon Ellinas's work on his website.

Last Updated 15 January 2020