Born: 1983, Ayr, Scotland.
Graham is a Scottish artist based in East London. He is interested in architecture and the built environment and draws inspiration from the ageing estates and urban developments occupying forgotten spaces on the fringes of the city.
His influences include artists David Hepher and George Shaw and photographer and filmmaker Chris Leslie. He also draws inspiration from the work of writers George Orwell and JG Ballard and the dystopian futures they created.
His recent work is centred on iconic examples of British post-war housing. It responds to the scale of the developments and geometric forms of the architecture as well as associated notions of the sublime. Studying of the effects of neglect, erosion and decay that have weakened the vast structures over time, his work references the ephemeral nature of the urban landscape and explores the utopian ideas which shaped the original social and architectural concepts for the developments and the themes of transience, isolation and decline associated with them today.
He is currently working on a series of paintings, drawings and prints responding to the once futuristic concrete tower blocks, low-rise maisonettes and elevated walkways of the Thamesmead estate in South East London, contextualised by the recently approved plans for a £1billion regeneration of the area. His recent work also includes a series of paintings, drawings and prints, which respond to the rise and fall of Glasgow’s Red Road estate – a once familiar and dominant feature of Glasgow’s skyline. The work is an investigation of the lifecycle of the estate, from the construction of the flats in the mid-60s to their eventual demolition in October 2015.
He typically works from source photographs taken during explorations of the places which feature in his paintings. He edits composition and content before preparing a detailed base drawing, consciously curtailing references to people in his work, exploring notions of isolation and solitude, and often distorting perspective to heighten the sense of scale and draw the viewer in, inviting them to explore the more detailed intricacies. The process of deconstructing the image and reconstructing the linear forms in this initial drawing stage is integral to his analysis and understanding of the structural elements in his paintings.
He interested in the dialogue between drawing and painting and the interplay between working meticulously and applying paint more freely. Building up layers of paint he uses a combination of controlled brushstrokes, creating areas of definitive and detailed rendering, and looser methods of working, such as dripping paint and pouring washes on the canvas, leaving traces of pigment referencing the effects of corrosion and decay. Working in this manner is driven by an ingrained attention to detail and certain obsessive tendencies and allows him to explore the properties of paint and how he applies it to the canvas.
2014 – 2018: Morley College, London – Printmaking
2009 – 2010: Université Panthéon-Assas, Paris – DSU
2007 – 2009: College of Law, London – GDL & LPC
2005 – 2006: University of Lund, Sweden – LLB (hons)
2003 – 2007: University of Edinburgh – LLB (hons)
2002 – 2003: Edinburgh College of Art – BA Design and Applied Arts
2001 – 2002: Edinburgh College of Art – Foundation