Saturday, 20 December 2008

'Nature Bandaid'

A theme developing in my work is the relationship between nature and the man-made in the urban environment. I'm collecting 'evidence' of nature's resilience in neglected urban setting, and comparing and contrasting this with more 'landscaped' urban nature.

Here are some photographs I recently took of Trellick Tower. This 31-storey block of flats was designed in the Brutalist style by architect Erno Goldfinger in 1966 (completed in 1972). In these pictures I've tried to fuse the sparse vegetation with the raw concrete of the building.

The term 'nature bandaid' sprang to mind observing this austere scene. I've borrowed this term from the author and social critic James Howard Kunstler. In this clip: The tragedy of suburbia he talks about how suburbia was proposed initially as an antidote to the industrial life and thus how the concept of 'countryside' became commodified.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Thames barrier and Docklands

I took a trip on Monday to see the Thames Barrier. I find the whole docklands area of London really interesting. The tension between old and new can definitely be sensed here. The vestiges of the historic industrial past stand side by side with the signs and symbols of the future. The way in which these neglected places are 'regenerated' provides an insight into society's value system - what is retained and preserved, what is demolished and replaced, how is it replaced. These dilapidated areas the provide visual clues to a bygone era. The abandoned warehouses and factories are legacy of the the last century. The luxury apartment blocks and offices which will soon replace these buildings will be our legacy.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

'Almost an Island' exhibition

This exhibition was curated by the Print MA. All the artwork was based on the poem 'The Drunken Boat' by Arthur Rimbaud. The 100 line poem is arranged in 25 quatrains. These were the lines I had to illustrate:

I have followed, for whole months on end, the swells Battering the reefs like hysterical herds of cows, Never dreaming that the luminous feet of the Marys Could force back the muzzles of snorting Oceans!

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

'Colouring in time' exhibition

'Colour in time, Colouring in time, Colouring time’ was the theme of this week’s student lead exhibition at Wilson Road organised by the Book Arts MA. Time, and how environments and objects change with it’s passing was the inspiration for my piece. The illustration is one from a series I’m undertaking which has to do with my grandmother’s house. This house has been uninhabited for many years, yet despite it’s abandonment it still retains many clues or signposts to it’s previous incarnation as a family home. The atmosphere and personality of the previous occupants is still traceable within the house. I find these sort of abandoned human spaces really interesting. They contain ‘evidence’, and reveal the hidden histories. Their dereliction illustrates a sort of tension between the man-made and natural environments, demonstrating the contrast between man’s efforts to maintain, structure and preserve, and the natural worlds propensity to constantly renew and change.  Lack of human maintenance allows nature to take over and reclaim. Combining materials, paint, photography and drawing, helps me to create atmosphere and enables me to convey the concept memory.

Sunday, 30 November 2008


I attend life-drawing classes in Bethnal Green on Monday evenings. Last week at the class the tutor asked us to make a few quick sketches with the hand you don't regularly use (for me that's the left). I was initially dubious about the idea but was really pleasantly surprised by the results. In many ways this technique helped me to draw more honestly, forcing me to record the forms I could see, not the forms that I thought I should see.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

'Drawing a lecture' exhibition

This exhibition, curated by the Digital Arts students, is currently taking place at Wilson Road. The works I submitted are based on doodles I've made during the lectures. I thought it was a clever theme as looking round the hall on Wednesday mornings, it's what most people seem to be up to. There was actually someone knitting this morning! 

F is for...

This is my submission for the 'C is for Camberwell' alphabet project organised in college. The entire alphabet can be viewed online:


Here are a couple of shots I took along the Thames path in Greenwich last week. I'm really interested how the silhouettes of the man-made and natural world mingle and combine. It's a pretty fascinating part of the city, with many signposts to London's industrial past. Traveling through Canary Wharf on my way home seemed to heighten this sense of a disappearing past. Taking the DLR from Greenwich felt a bit like fast-forwarding into the future.

'Cover' exhibition

This exhibition was curated by the illustration students and is the first in a series of MA pathway exhibitions at Wilson Road. The theme of the exhibition was 'cover'. This could be interpreted as literally or as loosely as one wished. I picked beards (covering the face) as a theme for my submission. After some online research  I learned that there are quite a lot of different types of weird and wonderful beards out there! The final pieces are a combination of letterpress, drawing and embroidery. 

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Hello World

Eeek...where to start? I'm new to the world of blogging, so it'll take me a bit of time to get warmed up. I've sort have cajoled into starting this blog at college. So after much mental arm-twisting I've decided to give it a go. Nobody really reads these things anyway! (do they?) It's going to be a sort of virtual drawer where I can collect and store things which I find interesting, influential or relevant to my illustration work and research.