Inner-city depression/deprivation, urban decay, industrial wastelands, heavy industry and the juxtaposition with nature, tower blocks, utopian architects vision of public housing - concrete jungle of deck access estates, Clockwork Orange style Dystopia, repeating patterns, endless bands of fenestration, darkness, disturbing work, punks, post apocalyptic panoramas, cyborgs/androids, municipal monoliths / masterpieces, contemporary carbuncles, industrial icons, how the human spirit can fight on against the odds, community spirit / individual spirit, painting listening to ambient Black Metal (Norway), heavy Metal sub-genres, self taught, camera always handy.
........sorry what was the question ?.....Inspiration!
Ever since i was a child I was always fascinated with Tower blocks - personally I blame "Mary, Mungo and Midge" -For those of you that can remember- this was an early 1970s kids TV show about a girl, a dog and her pet mouse who all lived on the 8th floor of a traditional tower (point) block. Pure and innocent 70s idealism !
The first time I ever went in one of the huge blocks in the middle of Rochdale to vist my Aunty Beryls parents (College Bank Flats AKA the Seven sisters) ... I was amazed that despite the fact that from the outside it looked like something from a sci fi movie on the inside ... it was just like a normal house ...only 100 feet high up in the cold Rochdale air!
NB Aunty Beryl isn't really my Aunty but I always refer to her as one !
Although I was never bought up on an estate per se .... I spent most of my childhood and teenage years hanging around on them - This isn't surprising; as back in the 1970s over 30% of the UK population lived in public housing . Compared with the Welfare State and the NHS - the great postwar housing drive from 1945-1979 shares little acknowledgment these days from the UK population
As a young man full of (ahem) hope and aspirations in Thatchers opportunity laden 1980s; I along with many others in my position, duly placed my name on the council list as soon as I possibly could to get my own stake in society ; a pad of my own! Within weeks I had an offer of a maisonette on a huge 1930 Parker Norris estate and then later on the 500+ deck access estate Freehold, happy times - that wouldn't happen these days!
So the obsession began!- ask any of my long suffering mates -
I've always been more concerned with brutalist housing schemes built for the masses rather than modernist villas for the elite, but don't quote me on that - thats why my work tends to be a bit of a slap in the face ; to reflect the whole essence of the buildings the works represents
People don't like Brutalism .. Why?.. Because its Brutal!
Leaving Rochdale (all those heady years ago) and relocating permenantly to Sheffield has continued to provide given me no end of opportunities for capturing iconic brutalist buildings. I love taking photos and subverting them using DIY punk-style photomontage and good old-fashioned traditional Xerox art. More recent forays have taken me to the capital searching out beauties such as Balfron tower and Robin Hood Gardens
When I’m not doing that you might find me in the pub, listening to Black Metal or daydreaming about going to Gunkanjima. ... maybe doing all three simultaneously
Thank you for your interest in TowerBlockMetal.