When Artistic Values Outweigh Realism

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When Artistic Values Outweigh Realism

Colin Mac Suibhne 


Who influences you graphically?
I try to draw a lot of influence from artistic references where appropriate. These range from medieval artwork like Giotto and Sassetta, through to more contemporary artists like Morandi, De Chirico, Klimt and Hammershoi. Some of these are being looked at from an architectural standpoint and some in terms of representation where I will draw on elements of their work for my images. The café image for example is set up to match the perspective of a medieval triptych, which allows the shorter depth of field to show three spaces clearly side by side.

What role does texture play in establishing a specific atmosphere?

Most of the perspective images I make are washed over with various textures in Photoshop, sometimes paper or sand textures and sometimes entirely separate images such as a Hammershoi or Klimt landscapes. I accept that these images are artistic representations and not realistic, so using textures like this blends the elements of the image into a coherent set, rather than have the final result appear too much like a collage.
This is particularly important in the landscape image of the Dutch Barn, which is made up of a 3d model, a photograph of an island, a separate photograph of a mountain range, a Hammershoi sky and water generated in Photoshop. To blend all of these together several layers of textures are applied to image to allow it to read as an individual artistic piece.

What is the effect and purpose of using the paintings of artists Rousseau to create the setting and or atmosphere of your proposal?

Well I’ve noticed the Rousseau paintings being used in architectural images lately. I’m guessing this has something to do with the placelessness and scalelessness of his paintings. Their child-like abstraction makes them very versatile as elements of an architectural image. This is really why I have chosen to use them in some of my images. There’s no assumption that this sort of greenery would ever grow in suburban Dublin, but it’s artistic values outweigh any realism in images like this.

What role does colour play in your images and what is the significance of the lack of it within drawings as a plan or section?

This comes down to the basic purpose of the image and what each one is there to show. In general plan & section drawings are drawn for very particular purposes, to show scale, proportion, program etc… Colour would only serve to distract from these very particular drawings. That being said if a plan or section was drawn with material as a main priority then colour would naturally come into it.
In some cases, such as in my elevation of the Cherry Orchard Hotel, the contrast of the deep red façade against the green context was as important to the atmosphere of the image as it was to show an accurate representation of the building material (red brick). The same goes for the red of the Dutch Barn Image, although the material representation here is more accurate.

You lack to feature the users of your proposals, what is the reason behind this?

Again this comes back to the main focus of each image, and the execution of them. The images shown here may not show users, but generally sections and elevations would feature users if scale was a priority. The plan of the dutch barn is looking at the relationship between the slenderness of the steel sections to the trees surrounding it, the human scale here is accounted for in the construction section where the focus shifts to show the relationship between the steel section and the occupant.


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Colin is currently entering his final year in the Dublin School of Architecture, DIT. He worked in Tokyo for several months with Atelier Bow Wow and following that began working with Ryan Kennihan Architects in Dublin.



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