About the artist: Gary Drostle

A Woolwich Boy

So starting at the beginning…

I was lucky enough to be born in Woolwich, in South East London, which is a great place and if I ever want a career change I would become a tourist guide for Woolwich.

My father was a trade union activist in the London Docks and my mother was a very talented crafter/ potter/ embrioderer/ dressmaker and anything else she took a fancy too. That probably tells you all about me 🙂

Off to Art College

Colouring in and sticking was always the only thing I was any good at and soon I was heading off to study fine art. I first attended Camberwell School of Art, then St Martins and Hornsey Colleges of Art in London.

When I finished art college in 1985 I knew I wanted to work in public spaces, I was committed to art that engaged with our communities and was out there on the street, always thought I’d end up in the gutter 🙂

I initially began working as a mural artist for a project for Haringey Hospitals and spent two years painting murals there. Following on from that project I founded Haringey Mural Workshop. At the same time I served on the executive of Haringey Arts Council for two years and worked closely with many different community groups.

Haringey Mural Workshop and the first major commission

Haringey Mural Workshop was formed by myself and four colleauges from the Haringey Hospital Arts Project. Artists, Ruth Priestly; Hilary Loebner; Joanne Elaine White; Paul Beaumont. I formed the mural painting team inspired by Greenwich Mural Workshop from my home town. Perhaps our best work as Haringey Mural Workshop, and my first major commission was in 1987 to paint a series of murals for Alexandra Palace – ‘The History of The Peoples Palace’. If you look carefully you can spot a portrait of myself and the team in the mural.

The first mosaic commission

After the Mural Workshop disbanded I headed back to my own neighbourhood and formed a new group called Wallscapes initially working with the fab Belfast artist Ruth Priestley. Ruth and I took on our first mosaic commission from my parent’s attic. Aren’t you impressed we got all the material for a 4m x 4metre mosaic up into the attic and then once it was made got it back down again… That first mosaic, ‘Sunburst – the light at the end of the tunnel’, commissioned by the London Borough of Islington, would turn out to be a turning point in my life.

The Wallscapes Years

In 1990 Ruth left to go back to Belfast and artist and old St Martins colleague Rob Turner joined Wallscapes. Rob and I went on to work as Wallscapes for over ten years. During this time we completed numerous public art projects across the UK, honing and refining our mosaic technique.

In 2001 Rob and I decided we needed to go our own ways in order to explore and develop our own work.

Some of the Wallscapes commissions

The De Luci Fish Mosaic Sculpture

Drostle Public Arts

Since 2001 I have built up a successful studio in south east London creating large scale site specific artworks to my own designs and occasionally collaborating with other artists.

In 2006 i created my first major mosaic sculpture, The De Luci Fish, for the town of Erith in Kent. This 7.5 m high glass mosaic encrusted sculpture of intertwining fish was a new departure which has opened up many new exciting opportunities.

I now work from a great studio at the Lakeside Centre artists hub in Thamesmead. 


A growing international reputation

With thirty years experience now under my belt and a mantlepiece full of awards my work is now in demand abroad too. Over the last few years I have gained international recognition for my mosaics, completing major commissions in Iowa, Chicago, California, Arizona and Washington DC. I have also been luck enough to work on community projects in Colombia and Chile. At home I continue to create major public artworks including commissions for TFL – Transport for London, Chester City Council, London Borough of Bexley, The Royal College of General Practitioners and many more.

Education and waving the flag for mosaic art…

All that experience and commitment has resulted in being elected as Chair and then President of the British Association for Modern Mosaic and being a regular guest lecturer at the Chicago Mosaic School. I have also given keynote speeches, workshops and juried exhibitions at the London conference of the British Association and the San Francisco, Pheonix, San Diego, Austin, Chicago and Detroit conferences of the Society of American Mosaic Artists.

…and looking for the missing link

Becoming interested in all things mosaic I began looking at the specific British heritage of mosaic art. Unfortunately it soon became apparent that there was precious little information on the more recent mosaic history in the UK. Many of the major mosaic studios operating through the Victorian era, some of which went through to the 1960’s and 70’s had disappeared without trace. So I was very happy to be one of the founders of the BAMM Andamento mosaic journal and be on the magazines editorial board to try and record this fascinating crafts history.


Well if you managed to get through that perhaps you should subscribe to the studio newsletter and see where it all goes from here…>>>>

Sign up to my occasional newsletter and get sneak previews, behind the scenes insights and new article notifications straight to your in-box

Free 30 minute consultation

Why not cut through your research time here by simply requesting a consultation meeting. In this meeting you will speak directly to myself and benefit from immediate and expert advice on your specific project.

Thank You

I will be in touch to arrange your appointment as soon as possible.

Currently all appointments are being carried out by ZOOM in order to comply with the Covid restrictions.

I look forward to speaking to you soon.