'Civic Creatures'


Animals’ power has always been recognised in cultures and nations and can be found on heraldic crests, flags and as totems of various sorts. Here, I have randomly collaged a set of prints, which revel in the timeless delight, power and humour animals create when combined with buildings of civic and architectural importance. The coincidental and playful juxtaposition of serious buildings with the liveliness of animals is both surreal and yet in some way familiar. Etchings were once the photographs of their day, so here we see prints with an authority of old-fashioned objectivity. Here we see what Jules Verne might have seen in another realm of fiction. So the familiar yet disjointed quality of these prints offers a fantastic antique journalism of imagined cities.Set amongst other antique prints they anticipate a fictional past in which animals were given totemic expression in architecture. A time when architects were less constrained by the rigours of modernity, moderation and building costs. This creature architecture speaks of proud civic expression and ironically, a humanity often lacking in today’s cities. They show how playful our civic buildings could be if we were to accept more lively influences and ask: if buildings have a life and character of their own, what sort of animal are they?