Did you know that there are six Nando’s in Milton Keynes? Neither did we, until illustrator Tom Guilmard created a series of drawings borne from his frustration with the city.
“Milton Keynes is a very strange place, it’s where I grew up and where I live now,” Tom explains, moving back to the city after he graduated from Camberwell College of Art. “It’s a commercial haven and cultural growth doesn’t seem to fall into its plans, but the original design principals of Milton Keynes are fascinating,” says the illustrator. “It was so well considered and forward thinking, the whole place was essentially built by hippies with design and public art at the forefront.”
However, these initial plans never came to fruition, instead Tom says his home town is “overrun by chains and big businesses with no independent bars or shops anywhere centrally”. Despite the lack of a creative community, innovative artistic talent regularly originates from the city. “Milton Keynes is to the creative world what Southampton are to the Premiere League – they produce some really great talent, but they leave as soon as they can for a bigger “club”. This is what needs to change, and that’s what a group of us want to help do.”
To confront this feeling, one of seeing the potential in Tom’s home but with little help from the powers that be, the illustrator has created a series of illustrations poking fun at the city. “It’s just about showing the council the need for them to consider cultural growth, and there has been small steps recently. It’s not about staying in Milton Keynes forever, but it’s about making it so you don’t have to leave, and these drawings just reflect the frustration felt living in Milton Keynes as a young person.”
About the Author
Lucy (she/her) joined It’s Nice That as a staff writer in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In January 2019, was made deputy editor and in November 2021, she became a senior editor predominantly working on It’s Nice That's partnerships. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about creative projects for the site or potential partnerships.