Born in Silver Spring, Maryland, USA, on Jan 21st, 1974 as a dual national (USA and UK),Ian Rees was raised in the US, UK, and Philippines. Educated in Connecticut and Arizona, USA, he received a bachelors degree in History from the University of Arizona in 2000, has traveled all over the globe, and now resides (mostly) in Tucson, Arizona, nestled amongst the magestic Saguaro cacti.
A relative newcomer (he has only been drawing seriously for about 4 years)..
he has been keen on the pencil... graphite and colored, for their portability, less messyness, and ability to prodce detail. His favorite subjects thus far have been: European cityscapes (namely Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, London, and Venice), portraits of famous people (philosophers, rock/reggae stars).
In the past, Ian has used old/antique postcards (that he used to buy by the dozen), as a source of most of his black and white cityscapes... and made copiesmof Rembrandts, Renoirs, and Chinese Art... Lately, Ian has begun to use more original material in his work, using his own photographic material (from his new digital camera) as his primary source for his newest pieces.
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Upon my first visit to Amsterdam, over fifteen years ago, I was struck immediately by the exceptionally efficient use of space- the complexity, intricacy, intimacy, and practical nature of the architecture. I felt (and feel today) as if I were walking through an outdoor museum, an historical document. So inspired was I, in the late 1990s, I set out to draw Amsterdam. After subsequent trips to the Netherlands, I returned home with antique postcards along with my own photographs- thereby allowing, each year, the addition of a handful of Amsterdam cityscapes to my portfolio. As of today I have finished roughly thirty such cityscapes, as well as several of Belgium and France.
---on my preference for drawing Amsterdam:
With little art instruction (three classes at the University of Arizona), I first approached drawing cityscapes with a straightedge ruler in hand. As a result, my illustrations at that time appeared inorganic- the structures rigid and emotionless- the often subtle tilting and sinking of the canal houses was absent. Fortunately however, shortly thereafter, I began to approach my drawings as well-worked sketches, dropping the ruler altogether. Consequently, my illustrations portrayed, with increasing accuracy, classic Dutch architecture's true character. Amsterdam city blocks, as I see them, though symmetrical, and hewn of rock, possess a palpable organic energy: their leaning as one, or occasionally individually, over the street, or on each other, giving them life. This energy I try to reveal in my artwork.
My drawing process is a meditative one. The intricacy of the various gables, the elaborate flourishes of 18th century cornices, and the neatly arranged windows, provide in their complexity, a sheer pleasure to draw. Each additional level of complexity achieved, as the drawing progresses (from laying out the outlines of each building, to adding the rectangles of the window frames, down to the detailing of each individual windowpane within that frame), akin to achieving a higher level of meditation. I am often asked: "why so many Dutch cityscapes?" I answer: few places in the world have the intricate, detailed architecture I seek as does Holland. Others ask why I don't produce more sought after genres: abstract works, larger-scale productions, or why I use pencil. I reply that my habit of drawing detailed cityscapes is not about the finished piece, it's about the process.