Drawing from his architecture studies Gilbert Leung drawings play with the juxtaposition of line, shape and space exploring the ultimate questions What if?
Who influences you graphically?
I draw inspiration from many sources and places, for example from Katsushika Hokusai’s Japanese woodblock prints to David Hockney’s paintings. It’s the unique perspectives and interpretations of the world expressed through these mediums that most inspire and intrigue me, in a way more revealing of an aspect of reality than the ‘reality’ we perceive through our own eyes. Take Hokusai and Hockney for example, both are geniuses in transforming the world into shapes and then reconstructing them on two-dimensional mediums.
What dictates the way you approach a project graphically?
It depends on the type of project and the qualities I want to convey with the particular drawing. Lets take my final project as an example, because it was a masterplanning project. In this project I had to find ways to zoom in and out to represent the ideas sufficiently in both scales. Axonometric drawings tend to do better when trying to explain a more complicated idea and perspective drawings are essential to describe how a designer imagines the spatial qualities are in specific places within the project. The approaches are somewhat constrained in the sense that they have to be an accurate and rightful representations of the architecture itself in relation to its wider context.
I have recently established myself as an illustrator. My artwork is very much influenced by the aesthetic and techniques I learned at architecture school. However, they are unlike my previous drawings as they ultimately serve different purposes where I’m afforded greater freedom of expression. This urge to produce my own work is my way of exploring the concepts and bounds of reality. Before any new drawings, I always ask myself What if? What if I combine this and that together? What if I put that in that space? Then I started to put different things together whether they are possible in real life, or not. I want to see them visually, to recreate that world inside my head, whether they are spaces, objects or people. Each of them are a project in their own right.
What is the potential of the perspective view as an immersive environment where a person can project into?
I think perspective views are crucial to convey visions to other people, just like any other drawings. To make the views convincing, the maker has to familiarise the audience with the drawing through employing elements people would see in their everyday life. They could be trees, furniture or even lamp posts, anything to aid the viewer to relate themselves to the drawings.
What is the effect and potential of texture in conveying the qualities of a space?
I am not a big fan of those photo realistic renderings. The photo like quality tries so hard to become the reality, so much so, that they have lost the imagination within in the image and give no room for the viewers to dream or imagine. My decision to include textures in my drawings, especially my collages is to give them that painterly quality that I love, and let people imagine their own reality.
To what extent do you agree with the axonometric as the most complete form of drawing?
Axonometric drawings are definitely the most complete and authentic form of drawing. Even Hockney said, ‘There’s no such thing as ‘correct perspective. In a logical point of view, an axonometric drawing definitely represents the reality more so than a perspective drawing but it is just not how our eyes see three dimensional spaces.
For my later work, I tend to mix different perspectives together in one single drawing. I think it is a more truthful way of representing how I imagine things, including spaces. I never imagine a scene as whole, but instead, I tend to imagine a bunch of objects separately and I collage them freely in my head. That’s why the perspectives vary amongst the items.
You seem to both include and avoid the use of people in a very selective way. How do people influence the way an image is perceived?
I avoid using people whenever I don’t think they are necessary in terms of conveying the scale. I think people could easily identify with the scale of a drawing whenever they see familiar objects from their everyday life, a window, a door, a teapot etc. I think it is easier for the audience to perceive and reimagine the quality of the space without the extra distraction of, in this case, people.
Gilbert Leung is an illustrator and designer, working and living in London. Having studied Professional Diploma at The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design, Leung has been involved in various public projects since graduation. Recently, Leung has decided to launch his illustration career to focus on his passion for drawing. His work is greatly influenced by his architectural experiences in the past years, heavily playing with the juxtaposition of line, shape and space.