I don’t just paint. Occasionally I develop projects that go off at a tangent to my major theme and very often they’re photographic. One such project I called ‘Trees before Buildings‘.
How the project came about is documented on my projects website but I thought it was complete a couple of years ago and I could move on. Ideas don’t seem to go away but cycle round and occasionally return to the conscious part of my brain, in this case refreshed by a newly discovered example of the ‘trees before buildings’ effect. Last week as I sat in my van on the way to the studio, waiting for traffic lights to turn green, I saw the view of a staggeringly ordinary residential tower block sectioned by a wintering tree with bright green lichen on its branches. Later in the morning I retraced my steps to record the scene and took a few shots with the iPhone, as I had done with all the other images in the series. The dangling phone charging cable in the branches added a layer of melancholia to the image with its implication of a disregard for nature.
Just the previous week I had been walking across Castle Park in the centre of Bristol I was attracted by the scene of the tower above Harvey Nichols store. It was like my senses were waking up after the dark days of winter. I decided to re-start the project and add these two images to it.
I like the title of the project because it can be interpreted two ways. It is both literal, in that the images are all about trees and other plants growing in front of buildings, but can also be taken as a statement of priority. The photo series recognises that developers and architects intentionally site trees among buildings and illustrates the beneficial effect to both the architecture and the occupants of their presence.