Antoni Gaudi

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Architecture is a field I know very little about, mainly due to the fact I instead dedicate my time to art. I do however greatly enjoy visually absorbing the architecture of a city – one of the reasons I love living in Edinburgh so much! Everywhere you look there is an interesting element within the urban landscape. Whether it’s squatted gargoyles and intricate statues, or William Henry Playfair’s beautiful neo-classical designs; it’s an incredibly visual city. The same can be said for many of the others I have visited. Oman in the Middle East and various parts of India – both are incredibly unique with their architectural shapes, religious buildings and mosaic patterns. I spent several years in Oman, so it was lovely visiting Whitechapel in London a few months ago; as amid the city high-rises was a sprouting mosque – absolutely beautiful and such an interesting contrast to the rest of the city’s architecture.

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Seeing the work of architect Antoni Gaudi has long since been a dream of mine, and was one of the main motives for my recent trip to Barcelona. His famous works include the Guell park, the Guell house and of course, the Sagrada Familia – all of which fall within the design umbrella of Catalan Modernism. Highly embellished and brightly coloured, even for the architectural novice like myself they are a sight to behold. Drawing on both organic and Gothic influences, Gaudi’s work is a unique blend.

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Without his friend and patron, the entrepreneur Eusebi GĂĽell i Bacigalupi’s support, many of Gaudi’s works would not have been realised. Gaudi in fact designed the crypt for the Guel family; a church which encompassed all elements of Gaudi’s experimental design techniques. This I did not see on my visit given our time limitations, however it is a site i will bear in mind for my return to Barcelona.

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Graffiti Diary, Madrid & Barcelona 2017

Recently I went on holiday to Madrid and Barcelona. What has developed into a natural impulse for me is documenting the graffiti in foreign cities. I never realised how much I liked graffiti until I went through photos on my camera and phone, only to find I am slowly gathering a personal archive of street art. I was in Berlin last summer and absolutely fell in love with the street art there, with the streets and pavements filled with vibrant colour and beautiful art. A lot of people have mixed feelings about graffiti; some thing it is defacing the urban landscape, others think it brings life to the streets. I am of the latter opinion, as I believe creativity should flourish in the most unexpected places. I particularly love chalked graffiti on the pavement, as the transience adds a melancholy to the experience of viewing. I also feel art is an integral part of life, so what better way for it to be integrated into our lives than through the streets?

Since reading John Berger’s ‘Ways of Seeing‘ (2008) a couple of years ago, I have become an advocate for what he terms the ‘visual essay’. Dispersed throughout the essays in this book are images collected and formulated into essays themselves. Devoid of text, yet united thematically, the visual essays force you to look and think for yourself. They allow you to reflect on the content of Berger’s essay and then apply visuals to his discussion. I find this way of looking and reading incredibly inspiring, so below is my visual essay of graffiti found whilst in Madrid and Barcelona.

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