I recently had a more in-depth chat about my UK Map and its progress, as well as its whats being included in some of its cites and also what its going to be used for once its finished, read below to find out more!
I: I guess first of all, ‘why?’ go sort of as far back or as recent as you like, just say where this pieces idea came from.
H: I think I can say that that this is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, because I think it was something that even goes back to the time before I developed my interesting cities, buildings and cityscapes, as a child long before getting in touch with architecture and studying architecture I always had this fascination for maps especially illustrated ones, so I just fancied doing something different and for a change, something different to the cityscape. I had done this view of the world before which was great fun and everything in a way comes together there, my fascination for maps and for geography and nature, science, programmes and even documentaries, I can in a way call upon all of this and then put it in. Similarly here with this map, so many different things and aspects wanting to bring in and kind of show the richness of this country when it comes to historic buildings, landmarks, little quirky things, favourite sports, people, famous characters, really specific characters and people in the map also. Its also nice to have something here in the gallery and in the shop which is also a wider appeal so its not just only about one city but its something about the whole country.
I: So would you say it was not only something thats designed to give people a better perspective of the outside of London, but also a means for you to learn? Because I get the sense that you are largely about discovery.
H: Yeah! I mean there theres always the opportunity to do a lot of research, basically I could come up with a lot of things that I already knew and then I think yes… these things must be included. You know that Canterbury has a cathedral, and York has a cathedral and then you don’t need to think too much when you consider what you need to illustrate that place but then because the map wants to be filled, it was good to be able to do research and come up with a lot more things, different things and all those funny little aspects which maybe the rest of the world associates with the UK.
I: Is it strange to have to limit yourself so much when you have created things in the past that are so dense, and kind of only capture a certain part of a city? Was it hard to sort of pick 6 or 7 things and shrink them down or…?
H: Maybe it was not so difficult because on one hand yes, maybe its slightly limited when its one particular place like London, compared to the big cityscapes but of course, I mean if you look at the map and the complete map then it may be unfair to call it limited.
I: So in terms of I guess the shop aspect, is it something you are only going to offer as a jigsaw and a print? Or maybe like with other things you current offer perhaps edit? Is this going to be something you really want to have as a whole and exist as larger products?
H: Yes, I think its something that I need to make tests and really check out if it works with crops and parts of it, or if its really like the map of the world in that its something that only works in one single piece and it more restricted to larger scaled items. Using it for the gallery and the shop, I would say that on the one hand of course I’m maybe well… something like this I would have enjoyed doing it anyway even if there was no commercial aspect at all, this is very much what I would love doing what I used to do before already as a child, I think i maybe would not have spent as much time and energy without the commercial aspect because I mean it is now really quite a long term project, I don’t even remember exactly when I started doing it! So of course it is in the back of my head, the idea of the commercial use makes me spend the time and effort needed but I enjoy very much…
I: I mean obviously its not something that we want to touch on too much but I think considering the fact that you’ve got other pieces, say for example London Looking West, that was what you came up with first (points to full colour version) and you made a change to exclusivise it (points at pastel version) is that something you would maybe do with the map? Would you say the topography and things are important? Meaning you wouldn’t change it too much?
I: I still need to do the test to see if the topography works better like this (points to current work) atlas-like way of depicting topography or if it needs to me a more monochromatic background maybe with different shades as opposed to colours, but other than that I don’t think its necessarily an image that would work or id want to do in lots of different variations in terms of colour, it could maybe work in a pastel version, but other than that I mean, I think to do this as just a line drawing is really something that lives from being colourful and vibrant, very vivd and very kind of happy and cheerful. Its like the map of the world in that its just the colour version and thats it, because it doesn’t lend itself very well to other styles.
I: Coming away from that side of it quickly, Northern Ireland, you said you were going to start looking into that, hows that gone? What are you looking at?
H: Yeah! I mean I think its not all all here (points at current image), its all stored in the studio but I think its going to be a normal mix in terms of there will be some iconic buildings, maybe you could also call it the next best secret? In the sense that you wouldn’t really know without already googling it and I had to do that with Northern Ireland, but they you discover quite impressive things, especially the Game of Thrones connection thanks to a large portion of it being filmed there. I found this thing, I think its called the ‘Dark Hedges’, theres this kind of road to the right you got these impressive trees with lots of branches on it, and I’ve also incorporated the characters, I thought about what else does the world associate with Northern Ireland but I think people will still remember its problems and troubles with its history, which I didn’t wish to dwell on unless it was historically driven, So thats why I’d rather have things such as a monument in Londonderry (points to image), which is this sculpture of two guys and they reach out to each other which I found to be something nice in gesture. Eventually Northern Ireland will be filled, but its proving actually really educational for myself in terms of doing the research and then to come up with more ideas.
I: One last thing, what is the plan once this is complete? What would you like to achieve with it in a personal way to the artists side purely, Is there a desire to do a launch somewhere?
H: I think yes, because now we do have the space downstairs, so its no longer a problem to have a little event, and not just have it placed upstairs with no introduction so yes, its something we wanted to do with different images before but never had the space, but because now we have a place to put them its definitely something we plan to do. The nice thing about this is also that it has a much wider potential to also work in other places, you know if you have our London themed things its a bit limited to its location, same with the other cities but they are made for their markets. Something like the UK, same as the map of the world was a chance to do something with universal appeal, so something like this as a puzzle especially I think would translate well as something all people would want from all places.