The mysteries of ironing


This is the site of Martin Barrett a professional artist living and working in East London. I work in a variety of media including; drawing, painting, printmaking, book-art and sculpture. I have been a lecturer working in Art and Design for over 35 years, recently retiring from my position at the University of East London.

Programmes I have worked on included Fine Art, Graphic Arts, Graphic Design and Illustration BA Programmes.  I was also a Director of Studies and Supervisor on the Fine Art Professional Doctorate programme.

I recently moved into a studio in the Old Manor Park Library and have been doing a project about Romford Road, one of London’s main arteries. This stretch of road from Ilford to Stratford is a curious jumble of odd buildings, homes, shops and businesses, some with histories going back into the 19th century, others newly arrived from the old colonies or from Eastern Europe. It is a rich mixture of the old and new. Most of the images I’ve completed have been watercolours but I have begun to tackle this subject using oil paint on primed board.


Damp evening going home.
February sunset on Romford Road

Other subject matter reflects my general concerns about the environment, pollution and human hubris. I am fascinated by the way we are pulled relentlessly by our emotions, although hopelessly believing that we are rational.  Some of my work seeks, in a not-too-serious way, to highlight some of these contradictions.

Fiery pipes.

Recently I have been exploring the phenomenon of ‘superfluous man’. An occasional  series of prints of romantic heroes engaged in absurd scenarios.






He is in all of us, a throwback to our hunter-gatherer ancestors, completely confounded by the demands of modern life.