03/06/2015 13:31 BST | Updated 02/06/2016 06:59 BST

Artist Fiona Hawthorne And Her Actor Husband Colin Salmon Help Revitalise West London

London's inner city housing developments can be pretty grimy and unwelcoming, but here's a new idea that could be picked up by local councils to transform their areas.



Photo Courtesy - Wilde Fry and Catalyst Housing.

This fortnight, Fiona Hawthorne, a Northern Irish artist who lives and works in London, has come together with residents and a housing association, to make the best of those grey, urban walls.


Photo Courtesy - Wilde Fry and Catalyst Housing.

Together they've been ramping up local creativity with her new community art installation, on the infamous Wornington Green Estate in Ladbroke Grove.

The unique and vibrant piece transforms what were grey walls, ramp and stairs into a celebration of the community and local history of North Kensington. The area has been given a mini-facelift, after its ramp leading into the estate, was turned into a local history art gallery of sorts.


Photo Courtesy - Wilde Fry and Catalyst Housing.

This artwork has personal resonance for Fiona. Only a short walk from this instillation, Fiona set up her first home with her now husband Colin Salmon (best known for his work in various James Bond films as well as Arrow, 24 and Paul Abbott's 'No Offence") with Kensington Housing Trust which is now part of Catalyst Housing.


Photo Courtesy - London360.

The artwork has been created with funding from the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Housing and Regeneration Fund along with support from Catalyst Gateway. Fiona spent months engaging with people from the local area to find out their stories and what inspires them. Fiona gathered information by attending workshops, talking to people through Facebook and a special session with children at the local school.


Photo Courtesy - Wilde Fry and Catalyst Housing.

Fiona told our London360 camera crew '' "It has been such a pleasure to meet local residents, to hear views on life now and stories of the past, and to mix photos old and new of an area I know and love. I wanted colour and texture to enhance life force, objects to help us consider the beauty of the rich tapestry that makes this community, and to spark a narrative. Children and their families have used this ramp for many years and I have made the art with children in mind - I wanted to create something that could help inspire stories, the imagination and possibilities. Art helps us look again at what we see every day, and I am very pleased to have had the chance to have so much fun adapting a landscape and sharing my work in a public space''.


Photo Courtesy - Wilde Fry and Catalyst Housing.

Wornington Green is a key part of the eclectic community of North Kensington, contributing much to the unique heritage of London. The area is currently involved in an exciting regeneration programme and to celebrate this Catalyst decided to create a new commission and put art into a public space.


Photo Courtesy - London360.

Sue Hannah, Area Manager at Catalyst Housing for Wornington Green added '' the idea came about from a walk about with residents to look at environmental improvements on the estate, on Wornington Green Estate, and the ramp was identified as an area that needed a bit of a make-over and people wanted to do a community art project. I look forward to seeing the creativity it inspires in the local community.'



Photo Courtesy - Wilde Fry and Catalyst Housing.

Fiona's famous hubby Colin Salmon proudly explained '' Fiona has a skill, with a beautiful use of colour that lifts and galvanises me and the young children who are walking through at eye level, they're in another world. This has been designed for the next generation to be lit up because we have to light up the next generation. Sometimes you can't say it but you can draw it. This is London. It's the most incredible city in the world, the diversity, the tolerance, and the way in which we live in these small villages, and they are small villages and we have to celebrate them. We have to include each other, the art I hope just lifts it and makes it a bit more special because everybody deserve to live in something special''


Photo Courtesy - Wilde Fry and Catalyst Housing.

As a freelance illustrator Fiona serves a broad spectrum of both national and international clients. Known for her witty and delicate line-and-wash style, she's often commissioned to draw live in situations that range from film shoots and jazz festivals to the Henley Regatta and the tearoom of Harrods. She's even worked with President Obama!

One local middle aged female resident, who seemed to be at first numb with tears, and then jubilant with elation told us '' Some of the pictures, I haven't even seen, I was in tears when I got here and our photo's are right in the front. It's like, just goose bumps, goose bumps, hair standing up, I was bawling! There is one photo of my sister, she lived here and passed away when she was 46, so when I first saw that I was emotional. My parents must be looking down really proud I think''.


Photo Courtesy - Wilde Fry and Catalyst Housing.

The last word went to a sprightly 10 year old young girl who was skipping around and lives locally who gushed '' by seeing this wall I've learnt the different stages of this area and how it has changed over the years. I think for the younger kids like ourselves, we like to look back at our ancestors. It's just a really nice thought to be able to look on there and say "oh, this is what they used to wear, and these are the things they got up to, and we do the same sort of thing in this day and age, its so cool!''


Photo Courtesy - London360.