Drawing Solo Expedition

Solo Expedition #1

There are ten weeks to go to my first solo exhibition after years of study and various group shows. I’m writing these excerpts as an exercise to quickly map my progress (and setbacks) to make sense of my ideas for myself along with a traditional sketchbook.

My Studio

I’ve reached that stage in my research for this new body of work where it is time to tackle the large white page for a complete drawing. Going from my sketchbook to this scale in the beginning is the most difficult part of my process. After deciding on a subject to draw, I wrestle with its placement on the page. Collage on a smaller scale helps me to decide on placement but once i scale up the composition, I almost always change my mind. This is an important step for me as I normally keep my backgrounds quite minimal – the empty space is as important as the subject itself.

Concept Development

The majority of my research over the last year has involved visiting and documenting sites of brutalist and Modernist architecture around Cork County and City. This part of the research includes archival architectural documents, on- site polaroid photography during fieldwork and discussions with owners, locals and workers of the immediate area.

O Flaherty House, Kinsale, Co. Cork, Ireland. June 2019

During this research, I feel that I experience a particular moment in time. A time of mid 20th Century space age optimism, as though I stand looking at a dystopian version of the Jetsons. There are many physical features which connect my visited sites with this 1960s family cartoon, in particular, their utopian designs and cantilevered legs. The Jetsons is imagined to take place 100 years from its airing in 1962. Will we be living in the stratosphere in 2062?

Why did the Jetsons live in the upper atmosphere?!

There is an interesting reimagining of the Jetsons as a comic series written by Jimmy Palmiotti for DC Comics. This is great article on it by The Verge :

The Exhibition Space

I have four large walls to play with for this exhibition and plan to have plenty of work to choose from when I curate the space. My exhibition is to include a talk, workshop and event during Culture Night on 20th September 2019.

Studio Practice

The Ghosts of Tower Blocks MA: Art and Process

I see buildings falling in Glasgow. I see rubble. I ask myself where that rubble goes. I discover that it’s crushed and then used to build new pedestrian streets- so people are walking on the ghosts of tower blocks[1](Cyprien Galliard)

My most recent art practice revolves around the mysterious vista, ambiguous built structures and the alienating effects of precast brutalist structures. I am interested in how Modernist architecture felt too unhomely and inhuman for many of its occupants.

Polaroid format is my preferred form of documentation for recent field research. The ability to produce an instant small, physical, framed memento during the on-site experience of an uncanny urban moment feels almost magical in this increasingly digital age of screens. The unabashed truth and representation of dreams of concrete utopia are what attracts me to the image of this fading form of architecture. It strikes a contrast to what can feel like an increasingly less physical and less truthful experience with the world.

Through the manipulation of 2D imagery and drawing in charcoal from built concrete spaces where I have encountered a sensation of the uncanny, I am attempting to create a heterotopic alternative dimension that is familiar yet unfamiliar. The summer studio period also involved experimentation with plaster casting and the layering of print and drawing to recreate an alienating effect.

[1] GALLIARD, Cyprien., New Romantic: In Conversation with Johnathan Griffin, 2010,, accessed 22/08/18