"A map can be used to make a walk. A map can be used to make a work of art. Maps have layers of information; they show history, geography, the naming of places. A map is an artistic and poetic combination of image and language."
The start point for my work is a fascination with place, particularly with the everyday, the familiar place. There is something about routine, repetition and the unnoticed or seemingly unremarkable which appeals to me. Spills and marks on the pavement, discarded rubbish blowing down the street, graffiti on walls, decaying buildings. All of these things tell us more about how we live in the everyday than any monumental piece of glass fronted architecture can.
Our spaces are in constant flux as we re-order and re-edit them, tearing down the old to replace with the shiny and new, an architect's idealised vision of how we live now and how we will exist in the future. But it is in the everyday that we define our spaces and create our own concept of place. How we navigate our surroundings, the routes we take, the routes we don't, the places we avoid, the places we think of as special or distinct. As we navigate our towns, cities and villages, we create our own daily maps that interweave and connect with other people's maps and lives.
In walking on the ground we erode paths gradually over time, we drop things, we change things, our footsteps rub out lines and wear down pavements. It is in this level of detail that I think the heart of our relationship with a place lies. And it is this level of detail that interests me. I walk to get somewhere, to get back, to discover it, to feel connected to the ground and place that I live in. In doing so I subconsciously create my own maps that chart my experience of being in a place, of the everyday, of the passing of time. My paintings draw together these different aspects, from mapping the paths I take over time to bringing together collected tracings of spills, marks, graffiti, rubbish, tide lines, erosion marks. Together these layers of information form an alternative map of a place - based on my experience walking in it - collecting the fragile marks we leave behind us that vanish over time. It is in the micro scale that the effect of each footstep and movement is most apparent.
Quote: Richard Long