Down in the Galley, a secret show

A new show from Liverpool-based graphic artists Katie Craven and Tomo takes place in an abandoned underground kitchen, its location a closely guarded secret

Mayor of Liverpool toilet paper by Tomo

A new show from Liverpool-based graphic artists Katie Craven and Tomo takes place in an abandoned underground kitchen, its location a closely guarded secret



I first met the mysterious Tomo, whose work can be seen on walls and doors around the city,  when researching our special issue on the burgeoning creative scene in Liverpool (CR Dec 2011). At the time he was working out of the Wolstenholme Creative Space, a run-down, shared studio complex in the house once occupied by the first Lord Mayor of Liverpool. In 2012, Tomo won the People’s Choice Award at The Liverpool Art Prize.

The WCS has now shut down as the centre of Liverpool undergoes some gentrification – the effects of which Tomo wants to address in the new joint show. “The neighbourhood I used to work in now finds itself in the midst of gentrification, the creative elements slowly being squeezed out or sanitised,” Tomo says. “Right now I couldn’t give a shit about making an area cool again. We’re taking our work back underground and if someone knocks on the door I’ll probably answer it, if not I don’t care, I’ll just keep painting and maybe we’ll be safe from the property developers at least a bit longer?”


Down in the Galley with anonymous punters

Down in the Galley is located in a former kitchen “part of a long demolished restaurant, sealed up and forgotten about for over a decade,” Tomo says. “It’s situated several feet below ground level and lies behind a nondescript looking metal door [shown below] up a dark alley, so hence the name – Down In The Galley. After one of our group got the hook up for us over nine months ago, we’ve been busy renovating the space from grimy shell into what it is now (also Galley first came about from a mis-spelling of the word gallery). The show itself appropriates this kitchen / food theme and ideas about consumption or being consumed.”


Gallery door with paintings by Craven and Tomo


Galley wallpaper by Craven and Tomo


Looking for Answers paste-up by Tomo


Down In The Galley is the first proper collaboration between the pair. “Katie’s more known for her comics and illustration but every now and again we team up and hit the streets for some late night painting,” Tomo says. “Normally in Liverpool’s more out of the way industrial districts which are pretty desolate after dark. For me it’s all about the experience and I’m not too concerned how many people see the work (if any), plus you can paint for hours in some of these places. People would comment on how well our styles worked together and eventually we thought we’d team up for something a bit more significant.”


Wall painting by Craven at Down in the Galley


Wall painting by Craven at Down in the Galley

Public art by Craven


Public art by Tomo


The show is on until May 10 (see above). More of Katie Craven’s work can be found here. Tomo’s website is here


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