In 2016 sketch artist Carl Lavia joined forces with photographer Lorna Le Bredonchel and together they formed the ambitious '69 cities of the UK' project. Which aims to create a portrait of the whole United Kingdom through large-scale sketches of its 69 cities.
Carl aka 'Sketch', is a self-taught artist based in London. He has been sketching since the age of 5 when he first became interested in the aesthetics of architecture, maps, and cityscapes. Whilst in his early work he created fictional cities, Carl’s current practice focuses on depicting visited cities from an aerial viewpoint, emphasising the abstraction of pattern and intensifying the detail and abundance of information. Predominantly working with ink on archival paper, Carl distinguishes between drawing and his approach – sketching – which allows for a more immediate and impressionistic response.
Lorna studied photography at LCC, she handles creative output across all aspects, including assisting Carl in working on the sketch, documenting the ongoing process, research, video + still photography and securing exhibition space within each city.
A portrait of the whole UK.
Carl and Lorna are documenting every single city within the UK - each artwork takes between 2-4 months to research and create and is placed on public display within its respective city.
Lorna begins by forming a basic pencil 'scaffold' Carl then layers over the minimal guidelines in pencil and ink, creating a more defined skeleton of the city, the work is fleshed out over time by constant layering (and erasing of lines) to solidify the intricate city structures in black ink. Lorna documents the process until the sketch is finished.
From a distance, the work looks like a traditional map, showing an aerial view of roads, bridges, streets, familiar buildings, monuments, and well-known landmarks; a closer inspection reveals a lightweight impressionist style, structures hovering and disintegrating, suggesting the process of creation, collapse, and re-creation, mirroring the dynamic rhythm of the city itself, the universal and the personal, in perpetual, transformation.
Carl and Lorna began their collaborative project in Birmingham in Oct 2016, followed by the cities of Manchester and Edinburgh in 2017.
Each artwork goes on public display within its respective city, and exhibitions have so far been held at a number of significant locations including Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, as well as the central libraries of Manchester and Edinburgh.
At the beginning of 2018 Dundee was completed and went on show at The McManus, Dundee's Art Gallery and Museum.
The city of Stirling was completed in May 2018 and is currently on display currently at The Tolbooth, Stirling's venue for live music and the arts.
The city of Perth was created in Jan 2019 and is on show now in the Perth Museum and Art gallery. The sixth Scottish city completed was Inverness, on show now in the Inverness Museum and Art Gallery.
Carl and Lorna are now working on mapping the city of Aberdeen - stay tuned on social media for the latest updates on this work.
Project overall aim.
* Create a unique portrait of the entire U.K by documenting the urban landscape in all its intricacy, variety and history.
* Portray the present face of our ever-changing urban landscape and stimulate the question of what could be lying in its future.
* Inspire a rediscovery of the places people know.
* Form exhibitions of the cityscapes alongside each other to be shown in several spaces throughout the UK, along with an accompanying book.
Long term goals.
* Create long term positive impact by encouraging engagement and connection through social causes within each city.
* Develop an app, allowing for an immersive 3D experience of the cityscape for exhibitions/prints.
Contact Lorna to discuss partnership opportunities, licensing, commissions and any questions to do with the overall project.
You can follow their '69 cities of the UK' project on this website, as well as via social media #69cities