This is a new category that I’m really excited to share with you guys. We’ve featured wonderfully talented jewelry makers with giveaways so far, but this is the first time we’ll be featuring an artist specializing in gorgeous cityscape renderings. Robin Mackney lured me in with Instagram posts showcasing work-in-progress shots of his architectural sketches. I just loved the detail and simplicity of each black and white drawing. They’re so unique, yet versatile, that I feel his work can be hung in almost any room in any home and make a perfect decor accent or focal piece.
To kick off the “Featured Artist” series, we’ll be sharing an interview with Robin and a giveaway for one of the gorgeous city prints from his online shop. Read on and enter at the bottom! Also, let us know what you think of our giveaways so far. Would you like to see more artwork, makeup, jewelry, skincare, etc.? Leave a comment and let us know!
What sparked your interest in architectural design as a subject for your artwork?
I studied architecture at Lincoln University and it was around that time that I started visiting art exhibitions totally unrelated to architecture or buildings — exhibitions on Warhol, Emin, Tim Burton and pop art collectives. I’ve always found architecture to be beautiful, from grand cathedrals to mundane concrete car parks. They all portray hidden qualities and evoke emotional reactions, much like art itself. I was at university when I started experimenting with architecture as an art form, first at the design and conception stage and then by researching radical architecture ideologies such as archigram. After school, I worked privately on commissions of people’s houses and streets, but it was only recently that the idea to portray a city through elevations that the skyline series came about.
As the world becomes more populated, so its cities become more significant. The detail architecture offers and the way people reside within it is something that fascinates me more than the idea of capturing landscapes or portraits. We now spend more and more time living in and visiting these places. They are a part of our past — we evolve with them and they will continue past our lifetimes to serve others. As a machine, I find a city to be one of the most beautiful subjects.
What’s your favorite medium to work with?
I love working in pen. If it’s an observational sketch or idea, I tend to look at the buildings and imagine them as a sketch on the paper and simply try to capture that on the page, working from the middle out, and including the details straight away. I spend more time observing the subject rather than looking at the paper. With the skyline series, I’ve been fortunate enough to visit the cities I’ve drawn. After taking photographs and doing rough sketches, I transfer the buildings that held significant value to me or the residents of that city into a re-imagined skyline. I take some liberties at this point and play with the composition to create something with more symmetry, and then I finish the drawing in pen.
What’s your favorite city?
I love the grid system of New York and the hop on/hop off bus to Gaudi’s Barcelona, but I have to say London is my favorite city. Whenever I visit, I feel like I’m rediscovering it in some way. The diversity, the off-street pop-up shops and cafes, the old architecture, the new architecture — the city is always evolving. Boroughs are always growing, and it’s always interesting to see where the next development will spring up. The ever-evolving nature of London also means that my skyline of it may never be finished.
What cities are currently in your “Skylines” collection?
So far, I’ve done London, New York and Brighton. Larger cities such as Rome, Paris, Berlin, Barcelona, Moscow, Rio and Tokyo are all on the horizon. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit most of these cities, and I’ll also be working on cities much closer to home such as Lincoln, Cambridge and Margate, which all hold personal significance to me. I’m intrigued to see how I can portray the architecture of the smaller cities of the UK against the iconic cities of the world and how they will look side by side in an exhibition.
How has studying cities and using them in your artwork impacted you personally?
I’ve learned to use sketching as a way to relax. I usually have a million and one things running through my head, so getting out to observe and draw a city is a real opportunity for me to switch off. It clears my head completely. Completing a piece gives me a real sense of place, purpose and achievement. Although architecture always stays the same, the way its dwellers transform the space exhibits the architecture in a constantly changing way. I also love the people-watching aspect. It makes me realize that I’m always learning from the people I sit amongst and the buildings that I’m hidden between. I also research each individual building I draw, from its concept and construction to its poignant moments in history.
What’s next for REWM?
I plan to complete the Skyline Series for a solo exhibition in 2014, and I intend to get out and do more street scene sketches. I also want to work on my figure drawing.
My work is due to be exhibited at the Bellis gallery in Brighton, and I hope to add more galleries over the next few months. I hope to be a part of further joint exhibitions throughout the year.
Giveaway time! Robin Mackney will be giving away one of the beautiful limited edition Giclée prints from his Skylines Collection to one lucky reader! The winner will get to choose any of the works available in the shop, and it will come in a wooden 29mm black-stained frame with a double mount which has been carefully selected to showcase the print. This giveaway is open internationally, and you must be 18 or older to participate. Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below!