Above: image of detail from one of the Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur
Like Rimsky Korsakov’s interpretation of Sheherezade
a wonderful story about a story teller, we’re all writing our life stories, all of the time.
Life stories are about hope, promise and understanding. Before my daughter went to Glasgow School of Art to study architecture in 1999, (yay!), I began to collect images from the weekend newspaper because I wanted to look at the way people, architecture, design, nature, art were represented.
Above: Glasgow School after 2014 fire, plans for the new school and students drawing attention to the lack of resources for teaching and learning there.
In 1999, the year she went I also went to begin to study art while working for a courier company in marketing, at Arnold and Carlton college.
We had a project to create interesting art on wooden fencing surrounding Southwell Minster as the Chapter House was being refurbished.
Above the scope of the Southwell Minster Chapter House ceiling caught by Nightlight Photographer Keith Cooper
The workmen on the building were real characters: steeplejacks and often, during the couple of months we trekked over to Southwell, they told us the stories, not only of a tree growing out of the tower but also of the wider world interconnections with other religious links: judaism, islam in the details and representation up and down, in and out of the church.
When you think about the popularity of pattern colouring books just now it’s a polite way of us dreaming and reaching out to the possible I think.
Above left: the Chapterhouse ceiling and, right: part of the Petronas Towers design, featuring the “Rub el Hizb”, or 8 pointed star, with semi circles tucked between the points.
Back in 1999, I too saw connections, not distinctions.
I began to realise how much of what we call religion is custom and culture. Is secular and the wonder of spirituality is something that emerges, like a story.
What could happen if I became an artist as builder I wondered.
I could create a scaffold and levels in the drawing, merge the structure of the church I’d drawn and the Petronas Towers. Then, from the bottom of the image to the top, draw the images I’d collected: art, architecture, people, design, photography, nature, fashion, culture, throughout the painting.
See what would emerge, I thought.
I spent a year on the drawings and the images and one day I’ll make a painting.
Fighting for my life to be properly represented. Just like you.