Heads Will Roll…

The Coolest Off-license

When Pocko decided to paint the outside of their Dalston shopfront, Engin Aslan, the owner of the off-license directly in front of the gallery, took notice and asked if it were possible to get a refresh for his place too… And so began a beautiful collaboration between Engin and Pocko’s creative director, Nicola Schwartz, along with Pocko artists Paul Bower and Raissa Pardini.

The neighbourhood on King Henry’s Walk is a tight-knit enclave where shops and residents look out for each other. Engin’s off-license, aptly named King Food & Wine, has been supplying Pocko with provisions and much more since the company first moved into the neighbourhood. It was precisely friendship and community which was at the heart of this collaboration.

For the community, everyone is very excited because this isn’t like one of the big supermarket chain corner shops. People are proud to have a local business, and they think that it adds character to the street.
– Engin Aslan, owner of King Food & Wine

The street that was once a mere path where Henry kept hunting lodges and a poem about the notorious monarch, written by the local writer/poet, Mark Johnson, provided the inspiration behind the project. Paul Bower’s always witty and ironic work was the ideal choice for interpreting the poem into a naughty playground of fruit and veg characters. Raissa’s pop/80s/Deco type style infused the right Dalston vibe to the painting, with both artists creating a colourful and lively piece that indeed would have caused heads to roll in the reign of Henry the VIII!

Paul’s pencil sketches show the precise and careful mapping of the project. He also did many rough colour sketches searching for the right combination that felt fresh and contemporary yet was also based on the traditional palette of English storefronts. He also wanted to capture the right energy for the poem, the images and the type.

Engin and I have a great friendship and in light of all the Pandemic induced stress, it felt great to open up the gallery again and to spread the joy of new beginnings with him and the lovely people on King Henry’s Walk
– Nicola Schwartz, Creative Director at Pocko