Glenn Ellul talks to us about his ongoing exhibition ‘Structures of the Mind’

What can one expect when visiting Structures of the mind?

‘Structures of the Mind’ is my first solo exhibition of pen and ink drawings that I’ve been working on for the past two years. It consists of Imaginary Structures pieces inspired mainly by my fascination for visionary architecture. The exhibition focuses on my own interpretations of architectural styles combined with a futuristic flair. Architectural styles range from Classical, Baroque, Deco, Brutalist architecture along with Chinoiserie-style ornament and more. The exhibition is curated by Roderick Camilleri.
The main aim is for visitors to escape from life for some time to explore the intricate details of these fantastical buildings.

You are mainly known for your architectural drawings; what can you tell us about how this exhibition embodies this medium and technique?

The exhibition aims to show my interest in the different shapes one finds in buildings, spaces, and structures. I don’t have an educational background in architecture, but I try to interpret what I see and read about architecture because I am very interested in it. As an artist I am self taught, and never attended official art lessons. I learned by practising and experimenting, and by time I honed my drawing skill to the level it is today. The medium that enabled me to express my love for art and architecture in minute detail was pen on paper. Since I go into a lot of detail in every piece, in time I improved my technique. The more time I spent drawing, the more steady and refined my hand became.

What is the process behind your work in encapsulating such detail?

As the exhibition title says, the works are all Structures of the Mind. This is because each piece is a product of my imagination. When I start a new piece, I generally have an idea of the shape and architectural style, but I don’t plan the detail from the start. I build the detail gradually, and it may vary depending on my state of mind at the time. This means how I am feeling and going through at a certain point in time translates into a different result. Generally, each drawing takes around a month to complete. 

The part that takes the longest is the ornamentation. This means that the main focus is not on the whole piece itself, but all the tiny details that make up the structure. Many times the details would mean barely touching the pen to the paper. For me each detail is important, because I want the viewer to engross themselves in each part of the structure. Furthermore, I also focus on the light source, because this makes all the difference when trying to give depth and scale to the drawing.  One can see this in the light and dark shading of the structure. Another important factor is the discipline of keeping the paper and the environment clean. The work is very delicate and I cannot risk staining the paper, because the empty space is as important as the drawing. 

What inspires the architectural structures?

The inspiration comes from basic shapes (squares, circles, triangles) around me. When I see a particular shape of a product or regular household good, in my mind I see it in an architectural syntax. One can say that I see a structure in regular items around us. That inspires the initial framework of the building I want to produce. I try to have an open mind, and let my environment inspire me.

What’s next for Glenn Ellul?

I am always aiming at reinventing myself and my art. In my studio I am always experimenting with new mediums and techniques to continue developing my signature style. One of my visions is to transform the structures I draw today into three dimensional art pieces. These can be regular household items or ornaments. I believe the aim of any artist is to challenge themselves and always go out of their comfort zone. Only with experimentation can an artist produce better work than previous ones.

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