I know You by Your Architecture

People often wonder why I focus my art on architecture, principally buildings and cityscapes. I’ve traveled the world and seen many of the natural wonders of the world. Take mountains, for example, a frequent choice of artists in search of an attractive subject. I’ve hiked in the Rocky Mountains, the Andes in South America and the Alps in Europe; there’s no question mountains are beautiful, breathtaking even, but they don’t appeal to me in the same way.

I greatly admire urban architecture, the architecture of buildings and cities. I admire the talents of the people who conceive and build our cities. I’m endlessly fascinated by the way so many individual efforts come together to create buildings, neighborhoods and cites, each with a distinct air, a unique personality. I am not an architect, but I imagine architecture presents many of the same challenges art presents to the artist; create a thing of beauty within imposed constraints. Art always faces some constraint; the artist selects a medium, a format, an inspiration and so on. Painting representative art imposes even more constraints.

When we, people, I mean, create buildings, we impose constraints of practicality; a building must serve the purpose of various activities while providing shelter from the elements. It must conform to the needs of the climate and the environment. It must accommodate the people who will work within it or around it. And while we’ve all seen buildings that conform only to practical constraints, when a buildings creators go beyond practicality to create something of beauty, that is when we really shine. And when we don’t, well, we’ve all seen buildings limited by the strict application of practical concerns; they’re rarely attractive.

I find architecture reflects the personality of the people who create it more accurately than other means we use to express ourselves. Fashion trends come and go, car models change yearly. But buildings last longer; buildings take longer to build and endure longer even than the people who built them. Architecture reflects the true nature of the people inhabiting it.

When I see a beautiful old building, I’m drawn to reflect on the skilled workers who participated in it’s construction. The architect, or course, but also surveyors, carpenters, masons, bricklayers, plumbers, electricians and more. And later, their work was honored by the owners and inhabitants, who took loving care of it, maintained or improved it. And nothing is more sad than to see a beautiful building neglected and left to ruin.

When I choose a building, a group of buildings or a neighborhood, I connect with the architecture and through it, to the people who created, and who continue to create, the personality of the scene before me. I seek to create an image that will also pay homage to the skilled builders, the proud owners, the respectful inhabitants. Through the process of creating my image, I become intimately connected with that building, that scene. I make the building mine, and when I reveal my vision, I am inviting you, as an honored guest, to visit. And together we begin another chapter in the life of a building, of a neighborhood, of a city.

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