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Art Works: Robert Lever

16 October 18 words: LeftLion

He might not hail from Hoodtown, but he's obsessed with our architecture...

This is done in mixed media, mainly charcoal. In total, it took around twenty hours. CV-wise, I'm mainly self-taught and just paint or draw whatever I feel like at the time. I don't usually adhere to any particular category, theme or style; I don't go in for competitions and don’t have a formal artist's statement. I find this great for artistic freedom, but it isn't great “professionally” as it's not really aligned with the way most agents, galleries and art markets work. It's a dilemma.

I’m not from Nottingham originally, but I was inspired by the quality of the local architecture and the fact that so much of it is well preserved. I passed this particular building a few times and went through a transition from “What a great building”, to wanting to photograph it, to “I’m going to draw it”. Even though I use photographic reference, I think this really highlighted a profound difference between casual appreciation, photography and drawing. The slow process of observing the details and committing to paper meant I had to really look at the building. The more I looked, the more impressed I became. The attention to detail is incredible; the angle of the bricks above the oriel window, the ironwork, the terracotta panels... I could go on.

Luckily, I’m not the only one to appreciate buildings such as this one on George Street, as there are dedicated walks and websites. The fact that this building is being “restored” as opposed to “repaired” or “demolished” is also encouraging.

For me, architecture is a large part of the unique identity of a town or city; part of its cultural fabric. It would be a pretty depressing world if every town centre was just a slightly different arrangement of McDonalds and Starbucks.

Robert’s Watson Fothergill picture can be viewed from Saturday 22 September to Thursday 27 October at Espresso Gallery.

Rober Lever website

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