John Broadley's Soho


With his new print screenprint 'Soho', John Broadley takes us on a nostalgic journey back to the golden era of 70s TV, shedding light on his inspiration and giving us a glimpse of his creative practice.

When I created this image, I followed a slightly random approach. I spent hours pouring through YouTube videos and old TV shows that captured different scenes around Soho. When I found something I liked, I'd take screenshots and use figures from there. 

The way I draw people is to use a photograph and, once I start drawing, let the character develop as my pen moves around the paper so that they don’t look like the original source. The shops and cafes are based on actual ones, but they aren’t all located together in real life. One of the things that struck me from old film footage is the amount of signage that used to be up and around Soho, so I wanted to get as much lettering as I could into the image.

The 1970s TV series ‘Budgie’ is possibly my all-time favourite show. Set in the heart of Soho, it acted as a loose inspiration for this print. Adam Faith plays the titular loser, but the real star is Iain Cuthbertson’s character Charles Endell, whose parade of business ventures chart the course of Soho’s notable industry from dirty bookshop through to the collapse of the adult cinema due to the invention of home video. I bought the DVDs and watched them repeatedly whilst I was working. 

John Broadley