Architecture is not only a fascinating art in itself, it’s a wonderful subject for other visual arts. In particular the architectural structure of cities, with all of the rich detail of interlocking geometry, makes for fascinating subjects.
Lok Jansen is an architect and illustrator living in Tokyo. There is something about the amazing and unique three dimensional space and complex structures of Tokyo that has an impact on artists. Jansen’s response, as both an architect an illustrator, has been multi-fold. His site features photos, sketches, visual essays on architecture and illustrations.
The illustrations show a fascination with the city as complex architectural and sculptural forms, textured with mechanical structures like bark on a tree.
He writes: “The metropolis to me, is like an organism. Growing. The tech seems almost organic. Highways, train lines, fly-overs, aircons, ducts, wires – they’re so wild its almost like greenery.”
Jansen’s linear response to these forms brings to mind the drawings of manga artists and anime background artists who specialize in architectural rendering, as well as the memory drawings of Tokyo by Steven Wiltshire and the complex comic art backgrounds of Geof Darrow. All seem to respond to the intricate topography of Tokyo as an expression of line.
Jansen’s site also includes drawings and sketches of other subjects from direct observation or flights of imagination. There are images of his design work, often involving three dimensional spaces , a large scale mural of the history of Europe and a fascinating illustrated essay on the current and potential use of space in Tokyo called Tokyo Parasito.
I particularly enjoy Jansen’s drawings of what appear to be layers of buildings and streets abstracted into block-like forms floating in space.