Local Portrait: Mark Perronet Owner/Curator of Atom Gallery

Written by: Violet Myers

In our ‘Local Portraits’ series we highlight the Inner North London residents, workers and business owners doing amazing things in our corner of London. So far we’ve spoken to Massimo Santoro, owner of the Italian Farmers in Stroud Green, about his former days as a model and what it’s like to start a business in a new country with little grasp of the language. Then we ventured over to Stoke Newington to catch-up with Davina and Michelle, co-owners of Cafe SoVegan, to discuss vegan burritos, changing careers and hosting parties.

Now we’re back in big, bad Stroud Green again and have rocked up on the doorstep of Atom Gallery, our neighbours and one of the area’s creative gems, to speak to Mark Perronet, gallery owner, artist and possessor of many excellent facial expressions.

The Atom Gallery sits on Stroud Green Road, it is home to a variety of contemporary art, design and photography exhibitions, held on a rotating schedule. The gallery’s private viewings are always packed out, with hip looking arty types spilling onto the pavement beyond its doors. A single Aboard sits loftily on the road outside the gallery, usually festooned in some witticism thought up from the recesses of Mark’s creative mind. An artist, gallery owner and specialist in exhibition quality digital and screen prints, Mark is also a funny fucker.

Previously, Mark worked from his Crouch End flat, but when his work and home life got a little too cosy he decided to put up shop in Stroud Green and open a gallery.

Everybody wants to have a gallery, don’t they? Everybody’s arty, I think. It’s a very romantic idea.

Not only does Mark do all of the printing himself, working with a huge and wonderfully nostalgic piece of printing equipment in the back room, he also sources all of the artists he features on his walls, often choosing and representing smaller local artists. He speaks of the joy of selling a piece of work to be displayed proudly in someone’s home.

It’s a huge buzz when you sell something. I make stuff myself so when you sell something it’s always rewarding. The money is good but, on top of that, what’s almost better is that fact that somebody wants to take it away and wants to live with it and that’s the best compliment.

His focus may now be more on selling paintings, rather than creating them, but Mark is still an artist with an impressive portfolio of traditional painting, printing and photography. He studied fine art at Middlesex University, before moving to North London in the early 80’s.

When he left college he didn’t really know what direction to head in and ended up drifting into photography. A twenty-year career followed, during which time he mostly took corporate portraits. It was a living that Mark says was relatively easy, he earned enough money and occasionally a few interesting jobs came his way.

I photographed Ray Davis from The Kinks, it was nice to meet him.

No longer satisfied by the photography industry, Mark set up a free paper called ‘Artswipe’ in order to showcase and share his own and other artist’s work. This is where he began to focus on the art of screen printing.

I did three issues and I interviewed Pure Evil, Dr D and Swifty. A bunch of people in the street art scene. We had an exhibition in the rag factory, just off of brick lane that went really well.

Artswipe proved to be a good starting point in Mark’s work learning how to print for other people. He explains that he essentially gained a pedigree in printing other artist’s prints, learning a lot from the experience of having to create high-quality work for professionals. This was the beginning of things, Mark started to get more screen printing work and doing less photographic jobs. Eventually, he decided he couldn’t be arsed with photography anymore and wanted to pursue printing in more depth.

90% of Mark’s customers are artists wanting high-quality prints for their exhibitions, this makes Mark’s work diverse and ever changing. It also gives him a chance to scout promising new work for his own gallery walls. While many of his customers choose to stick to digital printing, Mark is a highly skilled screen printer, a technique that offers a very different aesthetic. It’s a technique that hasn’t changed since the 1950’s, a very low tech approach that is gaining increased popular in recent years.

I think Screen prints are easier to sell than digital prints because people feel that it’s more of a hand made object. It was all to do with Banksy, that was the beginning of the resurgence of screen printing.

Mark moved to Wood Green from Edinburgh in the 80’s, but now lives more locally near his gallery. Although he’s been sad to watch some of his favourite pubs disappear, he still counts The Faltering Fullback as one of his favourites and loves some of the surprising venues in his local area.

This area’s got a little bit more edge to it, I think. I don’t quite know what it is. For instance, Dotori, brilliant food. It’s quite difficult to get into but the fact that it’s near the railway bridge, I love that, it has a kind of New York vibe. You get this really fantastic food in a grimy location.

Atom Gallery is located on Stroud Green Road and is open Tuesday – Saturday 11pm – 6pm, find them on Twitter and Instagram.


Photos by Mike Barry

North Four, North London magazine, bullish, camden peoples theatre, show, theatre, festival, come as you are

Beyond The Binary: Come As You Are Festival

Whilst progressive thinking about gender has become more and more mainstream recently, there is still far to go. Traditional gender constructs are yet to be broken down fully and there will likely always be resistance to the movement. Which is why it is so important to celebrate and promote events like Camden People’s Theatre, Come As You Are Festival: a celebration of non binary existence like no other.

North Four, North London magazine, bimber distillery, barrels, alcohol, rum, gin, vodka, whisky, tour, behind the scenes, tasting session
Eat & Drink

Local Portrait: Andrew Rummer of Sipping Liquor

Andrew Rummer is someone you want on your side when you’re choosing your new poison. You also want him on your side when finding where to source that beverage. He is the brains behind Sipping Liquor: a craft spirits club that delivers carefully chosen spirits to your door on a monthly or bi-monthly basis.

North Four, North London magazine, pop up space, stoke newington, hire, north london, bar, food, restaurant

Listen Up Pop Ups, Stokey Space Wants You

Got a supper club, guinea pig cafe, unicorn tears cocktail pop up? Stoke Newington wants it. Luckily a cafe close to Columbia Road has the space you’ve been looking for all along. Probably. Think exposed bricks, boutique lighting and tiled counters, like you’ve just stumbled off a long haul flight and ended up in a trendy Brooklyn coffee house.

North Four, North London magazine, kerb food, street food collective, kings cross, granary square, food festival, foodies, vegan
Eat & Drink

Great British Veg Off: Vegan Street Food Battle

“I’m on the veg… of reeeeason” Sang Lady Gaga, whilst cavorting around a staircase in shorts. The very same can be said of Kerb Street Food’s latest event organisers. The amount of quality vegetarian food stalls they’ve gathered together for us is teetering on the unreasonable. It’s not fair on our stomachs, nor on our eyes that are bigger than said stomachs.

Stroud Green, Tavia Davies, Bike, Cycling, North London, Davies & Davies Estate Agents

Love Local: Stroud Green on Film

What’s it really like to live in North London gem Stroud Green? This short film gives you a glimpse into local life. See if you can spot yourself on Stroud Green's streets; walking your dog, buying bananas from the fruit and veg shop, cheering to a bad joke over a pint outside The Worlds End...

North Four, North London magazine, stoke newington town hall, hackney council, maintenance, budget, proposed changes, refurbishments

Have Your Say: What Would You Do With Stoke Newington Town Hall?

Ever walked past Stokey Town Hall and thought, oh the things I’d do with that space. What would you do exactly, if you had the chance to take over? It’s a question we’ve often asked ourselves. Well now Hackney Council are finally asking us. Residents and business owners in the surrounding areas are being consulted on their draft proposals.

North Four, North London magazine, Telemachy, Camden Fringe, play, theatre

Beyond The Binary: Steps Toward Gender Neutrality

Sadiq Khan’s decision to change London underground announcements from ‘Ladies and Gentlemen’ to gender neutral greetings might have seemed like an obvious, positive step in the right direction. Unfortunately the news was met with some resistance and negativity. Some saw it as an attack against gender, deeming it ‘pathetic’, unnecessary and even ‘demeaning’. Presumably that affectionate term, Snowflake was also bandied around for good measure.

North Four, North London magazine, tube, underground, travel, underground, mind the gap, commute, lifestyle article

Small Toon Girl: The Pissy Commute

I'd had a bad day, so I thought reading the Slimming World magazine while eating a family-sized bag of crisps would help. This was the day I realised London was ridiculous. And it had rubbed off on me. I started out the day wet. Wet in my cute summer dress with a raincoat on top. It was July, pissing it down. But hot, very hot.

North Four, North London magazine, london queer fashion show, hackney, fashion, showhouse, fashion designers
Culture Lifestyle

Beyond The Binary: London Queer Fashion Show

Beyond The Binary is our mini series breaking down gender norms and exploring queer theory through events and interviews. We're kicking things off with an explosion of fashion, identity and expression. This September it’s London Queer Fashion Show. LQFS showcases the greatest new talent from people who know that ‘gender exists beyond the binary’, that clothing doesn't take male or female forms.

North Four, North London magazine, espresso martini, espressotini festival, coffee, caffeinated, bar, cocktail
Eat & Drink Events

It’s The ‘No More Sleepy Fun Sponge” Espressotini Festival

Did you know, the recipe is a relatively new invention? Back in the 80s, a soon-to-be infamous supermodel (sorry but it was blats Naomi Campbell) walked into a bar feeling sleepy and sober and in need of a pick me up. Asking notorious and rakish bartender, Dick Bradsell for something that would “wake me up and fuck me up”, she watched him crack his fingers and deftly shake up the tasty Espressotini we all know and regret ordering today when we look at our bank statements the next morning.

North Four, North London magazine, sutton and sons, fishmonger, fish and chips, islington, essex road, food review, fishery, lobster, crayfish
Eat & Drink

Posh Nosh: Date Night at Sutton and Sons

This family run restaurant has been sourcing the best of date night seafood the for the last twenty years, sourcing the finest and freshest fish from their very own fishmongers in Stoke Newington. But not only are they super sustainable, these guys are also super on trend with a signature lobster sub. So you can feel posh and down to earth all at once, stroke your beard then passionately get off with an avocado once you’ve finished cycling home on your fixie.

North Four, North London magazine, life drawing, neon, fluorescent, ultra violet, paint, art, class, duke of wellington
Culture Lifestyle

Neon Naked: Ultra Violet Life Drawing

Have you ever sat in the pub with ol Vick and Charlie and whatsherchops and thought, I’d love to draw a nude right now? No? Well what about a neon nude? Yeeah, now you’re keen! Well luckily that tasty Duke of Wellington pub happens to have just the right set up for a life drawing class. Not to mention a fluorescent one. So that is exactly what they do now. Every other Monday Jylle leaves her superb gin and tonic pouring duties to host Neon Naked.

North Four, North London magazine, the finsbury, live music, festival, performance, august, marshall amp
Events List

Top Six “Have You Heard Them Live Though” Music Nights

The last time I checked it was March 18th and I was watching someone drink green beer in a big hat and wondering whatever happened to Boxing Day. But someone has informed me that it is August and we need some kind of plan for the month because all logic has flown out the window and nobody knows what anything means anymore and I can’t remember if I had breakfast yesterday no but thanks for asking. Time for some live music to zone out to and tap along blankly while we gather our thoughts.

North Four, North London magazine, mally harpaz, hazel iris, piano, live music, cello, violin, percussion, band, the waiting room, stoke newington

Haunting Melodies and Soundscapes at The Waiting Room

Haunting melodies, rich ambience and devilish lyrics: indie folk singer Hazel Iris comes to Stokey all the way from California. Joining her is musician Mally Harpaz on accordion, cello, guitar and even percussion to create a pretty special double bill of musical awesomeness together.

North Four, North London magazine, stoke newington, walking tour, history, guided tour, event, to do, streets, shops

Small Toon Girl: London, Where All The Jobs Are

I’m Emmie, I'm 24 and from Newcastle. J'adore le foot. Ou est les piscine? I moved to London 6 months ago because 'it's where all the jobs are'. The above new-life-motto was a graffiti tag I saw in my first few days of London life. Capital R and all. I certainly followed through when, that night, I went to a gig and nipped to the loo... Sitting on the uncomfortably warm seat I looked up to see a club night poster advertising: '4 Jägerbombs for £20!'

North Four, North London magazine, mint gun club, aperitifs, cocktail bar, teahouse, stoke newington
Eat & Drink

Mint Gun Club: Exciting Little Gimlets in Stokey

Who’s Richard Hunt and what are exciting little gimlets when they’re at home? Take a walk down Stoke Newington High Street this month and you’ll find out. An intriguing new cocktail bar and teahouse has opened, calling itself The Mint Gun Club and offering up a three fold menu of teas, cocktails and pantry style food.