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BRITISH ARTIST KIERAN GABRIEL HITS a sweet spot in my appreciation of cars, architecture, and favorite artistic influences. The September 2022 Classic & Sports Car features his work in its “Motoring Art” section. Here are tidbits gleaned from the article, together with some personal observations.
Artistic Inspiration. C&SC notes, “The work of the American realist painter Edward Hopper was an inspiration for Gabriel, particularly the New Yorker’s city compositions from the 1930s.”
“Hopper’s use of light and shadow was a huge influence of how I observe things,” Gabriel said. “David Hockney’s paintings are also something I go to regularly for reference.”
Two Favorites. These two artists are favorites of mine as well. Hopper appeared here at SimanaitisSays in influence of operatic set design. Hockney’s work has appeared here several times; for example, in “Hockney Art: Stage and i.” This reference is most appropriate because it discusses Hockney’s iPainting, his use of iPhone and iPad graphics.
Gabriel’s Homage. “Gabriel’s early commercial work,” C&SC says, “focused on independent record labels and gig posters. ‘I didn’t start working digitally or with colour until university, but that initial graphic style was hugely beneficial in developing my own technique.’ ”
C&SC continues, “At first, Gabriel would sketch out thumbnail ideas for new compositions, but now he has the confidence to dive straight in digitally with his pen and tablet.”
“In my mind,” Gabriel says, “I deconstruct a scene and establish perspective. After editing details, I get creative with the lighting and select the limited palette.”
Car Choices. Gabriel offers an insight on cars for a work: “… most of the machines I draw are from the ’90s when I was growing up…. but most importantly I’ll select a car based just on the aesthetic and how it looks within the drawing. The angular style of a classic Volvo or BMW reflects the light in a more inspiring way and often better complements the buildings behind it.”
I lived in a design of this sort, though single-story, during undergraduate years at Worcester Poly; the landlord’s mother lived next door. I had an English Ford Consul convertible at the time, and later a U.S. Ford Falcon, also a convertible. Come to think of it, I recall the duplex had matching window boxes like the residence below.
“To find suitable locations for his compositions,” C&SC says, “Gabriel commonly starts by looking on Google Maps.”
It’s fun performing pictorial time travel to England; thanks, Kieran Gabriel and C&SC. ds
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2022