The Sunday Session welcomes Christopher Battye!
Today I’m going to visit Chris at his place in Fulham. I enter his flat and I’m greeted with a display of intense artwork, hung on his corridor walls. We sit in his back room and enjoy a tea together. Chris is eloquent as his tells me of his life in London. He studied painting in Liverpool and moved here in ’64, the same year as the Beatles. As you can expect it was possibly the best time to have a Liverpool accent in the city. Before becoming a painter Chris taught at a secondary modern school, then wrote features for the magazine: Art and Artists – interviewing artists including like David Hockney and Frank Alback.
When in 1974 Chris moved into his current flat, he found that he could paint again using his front room, which is bathed in daylight. Chris leaves me alone whilst he changes, I take a closer look at his work. The paintings are full of characters, colours, hints of stories, relationships. I imagine that if you were to look at his work for long enough, then you would really know him and the people that contribute to his life.Chris returns in a bright blue Teddy Boy suit. Teddy Boy’s were gangs of men in the mid-fifties typified by wearing suits in the style of Edwardian dandies. This style suited Chris although originally his mum wouldn’t let him buy a Ted suit in the fifties. So it wasn’t until he moved to London that he bought one. We take a few shots around his place. Chris is strong in his identity and fearlessly independent in his life.
I feel this as I shoot. Chris works in his studio almost every day and sits proud in his space, we then move outside onto the street. An area which has seen unprecedented change during the past forty-one years. Back in the seventies the area was mostly Irish working class, now Fulham and Chelsea has become something vey different. Chris symbolises his area’s past, refusing to let the area change him.