There are so many different influences surrounding us that can affect what we individually re-create in our lives and as an artist that list is endless, from personal relationships to everyday incidences. Personally, another area that has and continues to impact my artistic journey is architecture. Architecture can be an area some often take for granted in our surrounding landscape and yet its impact and influence on our emotions and responses to those, cannot be underestimated. When in a city always look up, you’ll be amazed at how much more you see!
Over the history of art of course the relationship between architecture and art has always been one of huge significance, from the art nouveau buildings, blurring the transitions between nature, architecture and art, highlighted by architects such as Gaudi and Horta, to the modernism and Brutalist works of Le Corbusier and never forgetting one of the masters of 20th Century architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright. This is one of the images I took of the Yves Klein exhibition in the Guggenheim in New York in 1982, referred to in my book Sculpting Colour, to be published May 2024. Another favourite architect of mine is Frank Gehry who is also known for his contribution to the Guggenheim Foundations portfolio of remarkable buildings.
The significance of architecture is immense, we live and breathe in our homes, Le Corbusier said ‘the home should be the treasure chest of living’ Architects like Le Corbusier are no doubt iconic, the beauty he unleashed in concrete curves and straight lines whilst embracing surrounding nature is often breathtaking. Similarly with Frank Lloyd Wright where rivers, mountains, the sun, trees and environment enhance architecture, these buildings are beautiful. Le Corbusier famously said, ‘Space and light and order. Those are the things that men need just as much as they need bread or a place to sleep’, whilst similarly Frank Lloyd Wright advised us to ‘study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you’ – wise words!
Shapes and patterns in architecture undoubtedly inspire me in my art. The way light reflects, creating new images, colours, shades and designs is endless when we really look. The junction where architecture and art cross over can be very influential in art and something that many artists have explored over the centuries, from Michelangelo to Hockney. Artists labour over the effects of light and structural effects and how these can be translated into artworks but more significantly for me in the shapes and patterns created and how these can work so well in my portraits. Colours, lines, light and dark can become very significant in the detailing of some of my work and as nature inspires some of my works, architecture can too. So I would recommend taking another look around on you next walk, where no doubt some building will inspire you too.