Cities – most of us work in them, or live in them – but do we always appreciate them? They often get a bad rap for pollution and overcrowding, but they also have enormous energy, diversity and their own beauty.
From Lowry’s depictions of industrial Manchester, to Monet’s impressions of London in fog, to Edward Hopper’s eerily vacant American streetscapes – certain cities have inspired artists over and again.
In paintings by artists such as Paul Kenton, cityscapes come alive – as their own characters in a countless number of stories. The geometry and inventiveness of man-made architecture, the connection between the people and their environment, the traffic and street lights – the sense of imminent possibilities.
Kenton has said “I love to capture the mood and spirit of a scene, adding layers of depth and expression which just can’t be captured in a straight pictorial study, almost like a short film, or series of photos which capture as much detail of a scene as possible.”
Another contemporary cityscape artist is Tom Butler, who began his fascination with built architecture in the southern French city of Uzès on holiday. He was captivated by the light and colour and angles of the place and soon after began a series of works inspired by the city.
The artist is soon off on a research trip to New York (pictured) but admits he particularly enjoys painting London, saying “Nothing shouts London at you more loudly then a Red Bus in Trafalgar Square or the bright lights of Piccadilly Circus. It’s a place you could never tire of returning to.”
He’s also travelled to Paris, New York and Venice to paint – favourite cities of countless artists before him inspired by the grandeur and history of these urban phenomena.
Mark Curryer is one of this genres rising stars with his impressionistic mark making that depicts London / NY like you’ve never seen them before.