This week we celebrate National Science and Engineering Week. Britain’s amazing buildings and bridges are fodder for my artwork. I am fascinated and inspired by the amazing feats of structural engineering that has evolved over centuries, propelled forward through invention, innovation and courageous ideas.
When I get to research a Cityscape I often get waylaid into reading about how something is built, the challenges that had to be overcome by the determined and often single-minded people behind it in order to make it happen. One of my favourite recent Cityscapes is of Newcastle, where several, breath taking bridges span the River Tyne, all constructed at different times in history and for different purposes … originally for foot, then rail and then road. In so doing such constructions also act a marker of social and economic history.
And history evolves, which led me to create a new Edinburgh Cityscape when the addition of a new necessitated a radical updated of this design! It also gives me a chance to look at the city afresh and on this design I’ve also referenced the many passages (closes) that run under the city … again, another amazing architectural feat!
One of my local heroes is Isambard Kingdom Brunel. He’s built a pumping station very close to where I live but is most famous for being the first to build a tunnel under a river and the first propeller driven (and biggest) ship in the world: the SS Great Britain. This beautiful ship as well as another of Brunel’s achievements: Clifton Suspension Bridge, are both featured in my Bristol Cityscape. You may be able to spot Mr Brunel himself, with his top hat poking up like a periscope from the SS Great Britain itself!
Of course my enthusiasm for engineering is not just confined to bridges and boats, I love architecture, old and new and the ever change face of a capital city such as London with the recent addition of the Shard and the Walkie Talkie building, just floats my boat.
I like to see ambitious architecture in smaller locations too. My university city of Brighton is home to the most elegant and exotic regency architecture from the Georgian period but the new kid on the block is the British Airways i360 tower that was a pleasure to include in my design, and again, was an excuse to go back to the drawing board and revisit Brighton through my art.