Rainbow broccoli has adorned Brick Lane for weeks now, bringing a 3D variation of street art to the already colourful road, courtesy of a local gallery owner and artist.
Adrian Boswell, the artist behind the leafy rainbow, first extended his love of the miniature tree to Brick Lane in 2017 when he painted real-life, edible broccoli and stuck it to buildings. As this broccoli had something of a “best before” element, Boswell started using plaster casts for his street art.
Boswell, 61, originally from Bournemouth has an infatuation with the vegetables and believes they have more use than we give them credit for.
He told Eastlondonlines: “Broccoli is one of the best vegetables you can possibly eat, it’s a superfood with many healing qualities. All the children and adults see it as a tree and maybe that isn’t such a coincidence. Maybe mother nature is saying, here’s a tree of life.”
He added: “My gallery is on Brick Lane and the street is like a stage, I just thought rainbow broccoli makes people laugh. If you’re walking down the road having a miserable day and you see a coloured broccoli, it changes your mood. We all need distractions even just for a short period of time to take us away from the daily grind.”
Boswell, who lives in Dalston, has great plans for the broccoli, even bringing some to Lewisham: “I’m going to put another hundred out next week. There’s a place over the water called Brockley so of course I’m going to put some there.”
The colourful brassica even has potential for worldwide domination with many Chinese tourists wishing to take a broccoli back with them.
“This year is going to be massive for me because of those broccolis. I’m framing and selling them in my shop now and it’s due to the Chinese. They were coming in saying ‘we want to buy broccoli’, and now they’ve taken them to China. I’m quite well known there now.”
Boswell has been an artist for 40 years and a chef for 20. Once he stopped catering, his partner – vintage market owner, Jane Allen, 63 – encouraged him to go for his dreams.
He said: “Because she supported me, I’m on my third book now and every book I dedicate to her. She’s an incredibly strong woman. Without her, I wouldn’t be going in the direction I am going now.”
When asked what the broccoli art means to him, Boswell explained his formula for creative endeavours:
“My work is closely linked with universal energy, I work on 20 pictures at the same time. This means I work in the unconscious mind, so I don’t know how each picture is going to turn out until the end. Because you’re never focussing on the big picture, you’re never focussed on one of them.”
A lot of art can often have a political or even sexual slant to it, however Boswell’s broccoli is completely innocent: “I steer away from politics because my art is done in the unconscious mind. The deeper I go into the unconscious mind, I meet up with the inner child.”
As a now reputable local artist, Boswell gives some advice to budding artists:
“You’ve got to believe in yourself 100 per cent, and you’ve got to realise whatever you create, no one has seen before, there is no such thing as bad art.”
“Without art, music, culture, what would life be? We serve a purpose and the street is a platform for artists.”
We asked locals what they thought of the street art and colourful broccoli in Brick Lane: