Artist Simon Hopkinson has a unique way of looking at Bristol’s city streets, picking out some unlikely areas to photograph and then paint. Subways, wastelands, derelict buildings and rusting bridges all catch his eye, and then he transforms them into atmospheric paintings that give you a sense of the melancholic peace of these areas.
Presenting starkly lit, intriguing segments of city sights, the paintings bring a sometimes eerie sense of the unknown to familiar sights, reminding us that however well we know a place, there are always previously un-glimpsed views to seek out. Using the photograph as a map, Simon then sets to work with acrylic paints, drawing out the luminosity of the shot and imbuing it with atmosphere.
“I like to walk through the city and photograph the things that strike me as uniquely beautiful, capture them and share them,” he says. “I have a fascination with certain types of scenery, and I aim to get across the mood that drew me to it.”
Simon recognises the grandeur lurking in unexpected places, from graffiti-ed subways to cemeteries, abandoned buildings to rusting metal girders – often views that give off a sense of decay.
His symbolic pieces take this a step further, playing with our anticipation by blending realism with elements such as headless dolls and stone angels, as well as haunting images of buildings that exude, as he says himself: “feelings of decline or loss or threat.”
It isn’t surprising to learn that Simon’s art career began following a degree in Philosophy, though he is keen to point out that “Philosophy is to do with the rational side of things while my work is more to do with conveying a feeling.”
Whether you’re seeking to soak up the atmosphere of the pieces or take in a different view of urban landscapes you think you know, Simon Hopkinson’s art will draw you in and stir up your responses to the world around you.
Simon’s paintings will be exhibited at the following Bristol galleries in the remainder of 2011:
Grant Bradley Gallery (http://www.grantbradleygallery.co.uk) – 1-27 August
Tobacco Factory Theatre bar (http://www.tobaccofactory.com/section.php/34/1/exhibitions) – 29 August – 1 October
Bristol Folk House (http://www.bristolfolkhouse.co.uk/whatson_exhibitions.php) – 3-29 September
Bocabar (http://www.paintworksbristol.co.uk/index.php?id=6) 2 December 2011 – 28 January 2012
Find out more about Simon Hopkinson at www.simonhopkinsonart.co.uk