Nine months on — the artworks have found their feet. I’m clear what themes I want to explore and better understand how the drawing style can achieve this.
Not so surprisingly, the drawings are about one of my biggest concerns: our relationship with the natural world. What began as simple drawings of maps of cities have evolved into drawings where the city is a metaphor for key issues being faced around the world, concerning pollution, over population, extreme weather, food shortages, water shortages and the accelerated decline of diversity in the ecosystem.
None of this is explicitly stated. I don’t think it needs to be. Whatever your position is in response to the political, scientific or ethical arguments — the effects are being seen more frequently and are mostly unmissable to some extent or other across the media. As soon as you start drawing any connections between nature and city, these issues are going to be implicit for a contemporary audience.
The more recent drawings show a much more abstract view of a city. From a distance it could be lichen on a rock or animal hide. Only up close does the pattern become clear of roads and buildings. A reminder that cities and the conveniences of our modern lives are not isolated from nature. We’ve often tried to insulate ourselves and try to control nature but it’s, ultimately, a symbiotic relationship.
Whether you think of cities as spectacular achievements of human creativity, foreboding symbols of our downfall or somewhere in between — I want to encourage people to think about their lives and hopefully raise awareness of that life being part of a much greater whole.