In an effort to take Charlotte’s love of architecture and Ian’s love of vast landscapes to its artistic end, the pair drove across the U.S. and Canada in a van. They created Sojourn, a body of work that proves when creatives travel together their journey evolves beyond what it could have been had they gone it alone.
I’m a full time artist, spending pretty much all of my time painting in our live/work studio in London. I’ve always loved Mid-Century architecture and interiors – the geometric beauty in the colour, light and forms. Within my paintings I am aiming to push the boundaries of perceived space, whilst leading the viewer into the realm of utopias and dystopias, of ideal spaces and places.
I’m a graphic designer and photographer, currently based in London, originally from Guernsey. I mainly shoot landscape and adventure photography.
Last year we travelled around the U.S and Canada in a van for a three month working road trip. We always talked about going to the States as inspiration for Charlotte’s up-coming solo exhibition, and just to experience the versatility in landscapes and architecture. We grabbed a map and started planning the places we didn’t want to miss. As we marked them down, it became apparent we were pretty widespread and flying to each individual place would have cost a fortune. So we decided to do it all in one go. We started in New York, travelled south through the blue ridge mountains and down to the sunny Florida Keys. From there, we went west along the south coast and up through Texas to Colorado. Then onto California, stopping at all the tourist spots along the way, up the coast eventually ending up in the Canadian rockies. It was an incredible experience, waking up in National parks and Walmarts, visiting over 20 US states, and their respective garages for repairs, and over 12,000 miles of driving.
What camera did you shoot on?
IF: I use my Canon 5dMk3 for everything I shoot. I’ve had it for a while now and it’s been with me on pretty much every trip we’ve been on. I’ve got a couple of lenses for it, which definitely helps with versatility. The trip was over the course of three months, and we were living out of a backpack the whole time so I didn’t want to bring too much kit with me. I took my Canon 24-105mm which stayed on my camera most of the time because of how adaptable it is. I also took my Canon 50mm 1.2, Canon 16-35mm 2.8 and a 70-300mm zoom lens.
What inspired this particular project?
IF: As mentioned above, we’ve always wanted to go to so many places in America, it seems so diverse. The idea of being able to drive from snowy mountain peaks to bustling cities, hot beaches and even hotter deserts seems very foreign to us being from England. For me it was a chance to experience all the different landscapes and iconic places in one trip, which you can’t do too many other places in the world.
CK: ‘Sojourn’ was the title for my paintings made in response to our trip. The 3 month inspiration trip provided lots of source material for me to work from. Whilst on the road I’d sketch and jot down a few descriptive words or phrases that could help trigger the beginning of a painting. It wasn’t until we returned back to London that I starting properly developing this body of work.
Are you purely a photographer or do you have other creative pursuits?
IF: Im actually a graphic designer by trade, and to begin with picked up photography on the side, whilst at university. Over the years I’ve just taken my camera everywhere we go, trying to learn and adapt, whilst taking on projects here and there. Eventually it just became part of my work.
Why did you chose photography over other creative mediums?
I: I love design but being stuck behind a desk 24/7 makes you want to get out and about. Personally, I enjoy getting outdoors, experiencing new adventures and collecting stories to tell the grandkids. I like the instant nature of photography and with landscapes especially, that places are different every time you visit. Everyone is just documenting their own experience of a particular place at a specific time.
How does your gear help you be a better photographer?
IF: For me being nimble is key. I try not to art direct my photos too much so inevitably I get a lot of candid shots, where people are in the right place at the right time or the light just hits the landscape perfectly etc. I like to have a bag that has an easily accessible camera slot, and a lens that can get a good range. If there’s a specific shot I’m looking for I’ll use a suitable lens, but I find I get a lot of shots with my default setup mentioned above. If it doesn’t fit in my backpack I tend not to take it to be honest.
If you could go anywhere to shoot where would it be and why?
IF: Shooting anywhere where the landscape is extra-ordinary is the most exciting for me. I recently went on a trip with some friends to the Faroe Islands which was incredible. We have a few trips planned for next year but I think our most exciting one is for Charlotte’s next big exhibition, the plan is to travel around Japan, China and parts of Indonesia for another long trip like last year.
CK: I’m currently working on a new body of work for London Art Fair in January … Then making plans to show with Arusha Gallery at one of the fairs in Miami December 2018 and Los Angeles 2019 so this will probably turn into another travel opportunity. Although we visited both of these places on our recent trip, there are still so many amazing parts to explore and get inspired by. I feel like we just scratched the surface. But as Ian has said, Japan/China/Indonesia is next on the cards in a couple of years. We have a lot to research but I think it will take my work in a totally new direction… there’s also an incredible artist residency in Indonesia on an old rice field that I would love to make work in. It feels like travel has become an integral foundation for my work, it’s where all the ideas for paintings are dreamed up, often in the moment without even realising it.
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For more of Charlotte and Ian’s work: