Exploring How We Process Cityscapes
The London based illustrator and printmaker weaves architectural detail into the fabric of each piece, Sam Kerridge explains;
“I begin by deconstructing the fundaments of architecture, reassembling them to create kaleidoscopic, geometric images, each one built with a graphic sensitivity and a surreal skew”
He combines illustration with digital techniques, creating something unique. Sam has created two exclusive prints for Greyscape and we’re debuting the first one here in time for the holidays.
Who inspires you?
Piranesi and Escher are probably the most obvious art inspiration, I saw a great exhibition of the latter a few years ago during Edinburgh Fringe. Growing up in London I was lucky to be exposed to lots of interesting architecture, I would go on walks with my dad along the Southbank and that’s probably where the seed of my love for exploring and photographing buildings was planted. Film and Anime is also a long time love, Akira, Bladerunner, Ghost in The Shell, Tim Burton’s Batman, The metropolis collage poster – basically anything with big buildings and good lighting! : )
The architectural/urban aspect to your art, interested to hear more about that
I was born in London Bridge and was exposed to a lot of diverse architecture from different eras constantly being reinvented or replaced. This informed the sense of the city being an organic growing and evolving organism, I look at crystal rock formations for inspiration in the geometric formations in my work and try to evoke this organic element. I made an animation at art school that had a fly-through a maze-like, cityscape of industrial and brutalist buildings that sprouted in every direction and I knew there was something in that that I wanted to keep coming back to. I returned to that concept now and then, playing with collaging my own urban photography. Living in and moving around in London is my main inspiration, I get a lot of inspiration just looking out the train window.
Are these imagined – unknown cityscapes or interpretations of what you are familiar with?
A little of both, what I love about a city like London is you can turn a corner of a familiar part of town and discover an area you’ve never explored before. The first few of my prints I plucked buildings from very disparate locations and definitely wanted to create unique imagined places with them. My more recent work I have used specific buildings from specific locations but they are about the memory of the place so are still meant to exist in a similar realm.
What’s your starting point for a project – are there triggers for you?
The starting point for a project is exploring a building or a city. I love to travel and often plan my trips around the architecture of a place. I’m always taking reference pictures and refer back to these during the draft process of a piece.
Can you explain your method and how it all sits together digital and drawn imagery?
Sometimes I just work from individual reference pictures and sketch in the pad and I often use digital collage to map out a piece (going back to those reference pictures) and use google maps to look at buildings from above to get a different angle
How has Covid19 impacted on you and your art?
Same as everyone, more time at home. On the one hand that has meant less inspiration as I’m not out and about in the world but also more designated time to create. It has meant a lot more opportunities for my street art as there are a lot more hoardings and London is quiet.
The masked city dweller heads came from ideas that had been gestating for a while but I hadn’t found a way to make work, they were forged by the odd atmosphere during lockdown into work I was really pleased with.
In the evolution of printmaking, what is happening now?
My screenprinting process is generally a pretty straightforward layering process, I love the finish screenprinting gives an image and the limitations of colour layers makes me think carefully about the colours I’m using and how they interact. On my most recent print of my ‘London Spirestar’, (which can be seen by the Graffiti Shack in SE1) I made stencils and added strips of colour on top of the three colour print, which tied it nicely to the version I’ve painted on hoardings around London. These were meant to invoke a sense of movement and the lights in the city and are reminiscent of the iconic tube map lines.
What do you want the observer of your art to notice?
I try to use the different angles and perspectives to draw the eye around the image and help them to get a sense of exploration and scale. I’m trying to make my work sit somewhere between the abstract and pictorial, reality and imagination so that hopefully there are enough reference points for it to feel tangible and have a sense of scale but also have an otherworldy sense and take the viewer somewhere else
Any up and coming projects?
I have a new collaboration project in the works. I regularly paint with a collective of artists called Spectrum (@wearespectrum on Instagram) the most recent piece, a celebration of Southbank architecture in Southwark, opposite the Old Vic Theatre. I’m constantly experimenting with my painting styles, exploring depth and texture.
My London Bridge print is just the first in a series of different cities, so I will be releasing more of those.
I have various other potential projects in the works that are very early days, and what with the current lockdowns and uncertainties who know what will actually come to anything, but with so much change there is always lots of potential out there.
Favourite book: High Rise by JG Ballard
and film? Blade Runner
All images are the copyright of Sam Kerridge ©
Visit Sam’s website