How did you get into drawing?
I scribbled like all kids do from a very young age, only I never stopped.
My mum is an artist and has always encouraged me to be creative; I think this gave me the confidence to keep drawing. Drawing is a very natural and effective way to communicate, but in education there is a pressure to focus solely on written communication; drawing is then pushed aside and seen purely as recreational. I think this is when a lot of kids stop drawing, and it’s a shame. I would maybe sometime take this too far for my maths teacher.
Who are your main artistic influences?
I think they change as you grow up; at first it must have been my mum. Watching an oil painting emerge in your own living room was always fascinating and whenever I smell of oil paint now, it takes me right back. I have to give some credit to Painting by Numbers too; it would be wrong not to. Then, the inevitable discovery of M.C.Escher, I was blown away by the detail in the drawings and his understanding of perspective.
M. C. Escher, ‘Balcony’ (wikiart.org)
What is your favoured medium and why?
In terms of drawing, I used to draw solely in graphite when I was growing up and pens always seemed a bit daunting to me, then I began studying Architecture and ditched the pencil for pen. I realised the permanence of pen that used to scare me, actually forced expression.
Do you prefer working on location or in a studio? Why?
All my drawings are drawn on location. I don’t enjoy drawing from photos; drawing for me is about capturing the whole experience, and this can’t be done away from the subject in a studio. For me, my drawings become a visual diary of my time spent on location; it’s a great way to really get to know a place. We rarely get the chance to just observe a space for hours at a time. I have learnt a lot about London through my drawings and this is what motivates me to keep going.
What has been your favourite subject to draw in London?
I love to draw people as much as the architecture, I think its only when we observe people interacting with architecture we can see the true success of the architecture itself. The Tate Modern Turbine hall was perhaps the most interesting to draw with its large ramp leading into the vast open space of the hall it seems to liberate people, from the kids chasing coins down the ramp, to the parents throwing them (the coins, not the kids). My favourite memory from that sketch was seeing a lady in a wheelchair throw her arms up in the air and speed down the ramp, luckily I managed to capture her in the drawing.
What is your favourite building in London? Why?
The Walkie Talkie… I love the way it highlights what can happen when architects/planners get it wrong.
This year’s 10×10 grid follows the Thames, what does the river represent for you?
The river represents open space for me, I love crossing London Bridge from the built up banks and being hit by the winds coming up the river. I have drawn the river a lot. I love the cross section view of London that the river creates; it’s just a shame it doesn’t freeze over like it used to.
Your Grid Square No.55 includes Tate Britain, how has this inspired/influenced your piece?
Tate Britain is a great example of London’s rich architectural history and heritage; I have always enjoyed visiting the Tate Britain so I was excited to study it further, both socially and architecturally. I was torn as to how I would capture the Tate, so I began by visiting with my smaller sketchbook to do some quick sketches.
This helped me decide how I wanted to capture Tate Britain. Though the interior is stunning, I decided to capture the exterior, as it is unchanged since the formation of the Gallery. I then spent two days drawing my chosen view, it was great to spend such a long time on location, and I really got to know the area and met some really interesting people.
Photo: Michael Drummond (www.michaeldrummond.co.uk)
Click here to see a time lapse video of Luke drawing the Tate.