Construction, UK

31 months at Boston Manor, The building of GSK new headquarters 2000-2001 Bas-relief 224cms x 130cms

(Above) image records the building of GSK new headquarters in London. For a year I had a small pre fab unit/studio in the middle of the construction site. I became a familiar face on site & got to know many of the workers, all of the characters are based on real people. The white architects plan in the centre of the relief was modelled in low relief as the starting point for the composition, then the relief was built up higher around its edges recording construction processes & activities that happened in those locations on the map.

R.B.S. New Headquarters Edinburgh, offices for MACE. Fibreglass relief painted in oils 96 x 66cms
R.B.S. New Headquarters Edinburgh, offices for MACE. Fibreglass relief painted in oils 96 x 66cms

(Above) is an office scene of the construction team. Designing the composition & fitting in all the people is always a huge challenge & usually involves office politics. I have a tendency, not deliberate, to make the least important people appear high profile, as they often tend to be the most colourful. Whenever possible I try to spend as much time in the actual environment, as its the small details that make the images come alive, the way people sit at their computers & interact, all help in putting together the final composition. The most difficult commissions are to work from publicity shots of people staring directly at the camera smiling with no background.

Excavation. Fibreglass relief in oils 96 x 66cms, 2005
Excavation. Fibreglass relief in oils 96 x 66cms, 2005

(Left) This was the first of a series of 8 smaller reliefs recording the various stages as the new RBS headquarters was being built. This was the early excavation of the site or buildings footprint as they call it. Construction is a great subject to depict in Bas-relief & working in clay or mud seemes very appropriate, areas are cast with actual rock & mud from the site.

Main entrance, Gogarburn. Bas-relief 96x66cms painted in oils
Main entrance, Gogarburn. Bas-relief 96x66cms painted in oils

Relief (left) shows the main workers entrance to the new RBS construction site, with the canteen lower right of the image, with the big blue umbrellas. This was part of a series of 8 small panels that told the story of the construction processes, from excavation to part completion.

Installing the Glass roof, above the internal street, Gogarburn.

For the straight lines, lots of plastic tubes & sticks from modelling shops were used & pressed into the clay to help with the structure. Watching the installation was fascinating, seeing glass panels lifted on tall cranes by a machine with four rubber suction heads attached to the glass & carefully lowered into position. The view is seen from below & above at different stages. Many of the reliefs play with scale & perspective to enable multiple images as a way of telling a story in one image. The Edinburgh dark overcast skies made a great contrast against the brightly coloured workers jackets & luminous equipment.

 Fibreglass relief 96 x 66cms painted in oils. 2005
Fibreglass relief 96 x 66cms painted in oils. 2005