Take a look at a video of me drawing and talking about drawing. Filmed by the University of West England in Bath. Enjoy!
These drawings were done in a single evening and morning before a conference I attended. Sheffield is an appealing city with a vibrant arts scene, particularly in music and film. My aimless wandering uncovered these characters who seemed iconic of the somewhat less savoury aspects of the city. In fact, like many northern cities I have visited, Sheffield has a significant number of vacant shops and depressed areas butting right up against areas that have had cash infusions bolstering the arts and shopping districts. This partial gentrification is typical of cities that are very much in the throws of economic and cultural change. Too often these changes elevate a very small and privileged few. The psychic tension between the industrial city of old and the new, incentivised, flatpack cultural identity thrust upon these cities is often absurd. Sheffield was a city trying very hard. I wasn’t there long enough to figure out for whom that effort was focused.
Here is an article recently published in IAFOR’s online magazine THINK. Scroll down for all of the drawings i did in Barcelona. Enjoy!
Here is a collection of the drawings I did on a recent trip to Berlin. They are presented as they were drawn (in a square sketchbook). It was a trip that reminded me of what many cities lack in their quest to satisfy the needs of gentrified and sterile middle class tastes. It was still a bit wild and earnest. Enjoy!
Here are some drawings done in California. Between travelling with children and enduring quite brutal heat, this is not as robust an effort as I would usually make. Still, California is an endlessly fascinating place for me. Perched at the edge of the American dream and being filled with dreamers, it represents those frictions between fantasy and fulfilment. It is still frontier land and the freedom of exploration and discovery of that not so distant past is still in the daydream haze that fills the heads of its citizens.
I am quite rusty drawing Americans. In the past they were my bread and butter. I relished in the fat and filigree. I realise now that my approach to drawing people is less about the people themselves but their symbolic power. Their momentary pose which, like a statue, eschews mere representation and enshrines human achievement (no matter how small or bad or good).
To wake up from the dream that is California is profoundly sad. Invested in the palm trees and wide open vistas is the closest thing America comes to paradise and yet, because of this, like all things American, it becomes a victim of it’s own success. It now chokes on the exhaust of it’s own decadent dreams. Mixed in with moments of placid calm at the beach are unpredictable traffic jams and the same feverish capitalism that drove everyone out there in the first place (or was that the beaches?). But still, like dreams themselves, California works on a logic of its own. Here’s to the dreamers!