What is subtractionism?

What is subtractionism?


look inside my sketchbook of subtractionism

Manchester Art Gallery original print and styled illustration

How I got started

Subtractionism started following a series of icon illustrations I created to highlight a selection of the classic buildings in Manchester’s City Centre. The first set of building illustrations were part of a map design project for The Manchester International Festival.

The design of the map dictated that I had to make the building icons recognisable, on a small scale. I decided to cut back and concentrate on the shape and form of each building, only revealing essential detail.

“ After spending time working on each building illustration, breaking the subject down into its basic shapes has given me a real feel for the Architects brief and how their interpretations took shape.”

The more I have explored the different styles of architecture in and around Manchester, the greater my interest and fascination has grown, not just the buildings shape and design but also what it stood for and the industries it has represented over the many decades as Manchester was at the heart of The Industrial Revolution and many of these buildings played their part. As I draw, explore and see more I aim to share my work on this website

Looking in isolation

“ Our city centre buildings are crammed together as they compete for space, their true style and form goes unseen and is often ignored. The aim of my work and illustration style is to isolate the buildings, allowing them to stand alone gives them a unique, almost monolithic presence away from the shadows of others.”

Why Manchester

Why Manchester

polaroid of midland bank

Working in Manchester

My career in advertising started at McCormics, Publicis - an Advertising Agency in the heart of Manchester, where I started as a junior visualiser.

I worked on the fifth floor in Brook House on Spring Gardens. The view from the office windows was always interesting - mainly scaffolding I seem to remember, but one building that always stood out was the magnificent Midland Bank building, it was still a bank in those days.

My Creative director took a polaroid photograph as the sun set on the upper floors of the building - the image has always stayed with me and I wish I had the original, it was probably at this time I started becoming fascinated by the buildings around me.

Early test prints were a great success with Manchester Art Gallery

Early test prints were a great success with Manchester Art Gallery

picture of Manchester Art Gallery test silk screen prints

Framed screen prints of Manchester Art Gallery

manchester art gallery framed print

An emerging Artist…

My thanks go out to Manchester Art Gallery for showing interest in my work and recognising me as an emerging artist.

I was inspired by their enthusiasm and have now developed my portfolio into a series of prints concentrating on the buildings in and around Manchester City Centre.

Getting started…

The illustrations started as a set of map icons and took me back into the City I have grown up with, and worked in for over 30 years.

The "brief " to myself was to cut back the detail of the buildings and leave an easily identifiable image in one colour.

Manchester Art Gallery retro style print

Back to basics

To solve the brief I returned to the traditional techniques I was taught at art school and my early career as a commercial artist and visualiser. I then started researching the art created by commercial artists from the mid 20th Century, how their style developed and was dictated by the printing technology of the time.

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