Neil Dawson is a cityscape artist hailing from the UK. Transforming ordinary, everyday city scenes into striking depictions of the world around us, Dawson has captured images from destinations across the world, including London, Edinburgh, Paris, New York and Sydney.
Using photographic images as the basis for much of his work, Dawson creates oil masterpieces that capture the different moods and emotions of a city, from portrayals of hectic rush hours to serene sunset depictions.
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Neil Dawson spent his childhood and school years enthralled by art, and went on to gain a formal artistic education at Central Saint Martins College in London. However, whilst he enjoyed the course, he struggled with some aspects and for a while avoided pursuing art as a career.
Dawson had previously enjoyed the freedom, spontaneity and escapism of painting, and believed it was inappropriate for him to tell people what they should be seeing and thinking about his art. Rather than discussing his work, he instead felt that people should make their own minds up about it and draw their own conclusions. After his initial spell at art college, Dawson went on to complete an economics degree and started a career in banking, neglecting to paint for many years.
It was only after a prolonged period of travelling that Dawson rekindled his long lost love for art. The perpetual exposure to strange, evocative environments during his travels allowed him to properly appreciate them, and this became a defining experience.
Whilst abroad, Dawson used his camera as his creative outlet to capture various elements of his new surroundings. As soon as he arrived back home, he dusted off his palettes and paints and sought to recapture some of the sights and feelings he had experienced during his travels. He soon realised how much he had missed art and hasn't looked back since.
Many of Dawson's ideas come what he sees around him, and anything from watching TV to walking around a city can spark ideas for paintings. Talking about moments of inspiration, he said: "I am always finding torn out references from magazines or scraps of paper with notes and sketches made in moments of excitement and inspiration days or weeks ago, that serve as starting points for new work."
Dawson tends to use photographic references as a starting point for his pictures. However he generally doesn't have a preconceived idea of how he wants his finished work to look, and instead prefers to see where the creative process takes him.
Describing his initial drawing process, Dawson has said: "I always start quickly as I dislike staring at a blank canvas and find the early stages of a painting the most exciting and creative. I will block in large areas of colour and tone to give the picture life and energy at an early stage." His pictures usually take five or six stages to complete, as the layers of oil paint dry. As he approaches the smaller elements of his paintings, the process generally slows down in its final stages.
Dawson's subject matter of choice is the urban environment, and he is inspired by the colour, vibrancy and energy of cities. His paintings range from depictions of some of the world's most famous landmarks like London's Big Ben and San Francisco's Bay Bridge, to more mundane city scenes that he brings to life in his evocative, colourful style. A common theme of Dawson's work is the humdrum nature of city traffic, typically featuring distinctive forms of public transport, like New York's yellow taxi cabs or London's red buses.
With gallery shows all over his native UK, Neil Dawson's prints and originals remain popular with collectors and art fans alike.