Havana, Cuba

Solo Exhibition: '5x5 : A Study in Pretty Architecture'

Born from a love of architecture and inspired by the beauty of colour, '5x5: A Study in Pretty Architecture' is my personal study of urban architecture from around the world. It  documents my illustrative journey through five towns, villages and cities from disparate regions across the globe and viewed through the five prisms of Culture, Pattern, Detail, Colour and Aesthetic. I'm utterly captivated by colourful buildings, quaint doorways and pretty windows so this project has passion at it's absolute core. 


With my husky snoring at my feet and the rain beating against the windows of my studio in the West Coast of Ireland, I was able to virtually transport myself to the heart of the bustling capital of Cuba through Google Maps where I could walk the streets and see how real people lived their lives, day to day and not just through a tourist website filter. I would take screen grabs of everything that sparked a flame of excitement in me: colour palettes, ornate windows, gorgeous balconies, beautiful shutters as well as busy markets, filled with people and vintage cars.

The charm and allure of Havana is undeniable, a step back in time, a city awash with culture and vivacity! The Spanish colonial influence is most obvious in the architecture of Old Havana with a mix of Baroque, Neo Classical and Moorish influences. What struck me the most was the upsetting juxtaposition of these historically rich, magnificent colourful buildings and their elaborate architectural detailing, with their current state of decay and the obvious poverty of their inhabitants. Over 60% of Havana is in need of restoration but funding has not been forthcoming, it would be such a devastating loss to the historical, cultural and aesthetic landscape of Cuba if they were to fall to ruin. This knowledge made choosing Old Havana as one of the pieces I wanted to explore through illustration, a very easy decision to make.

Print: 84.1cm x 29.7cm  /  Framed: 100cm x 45.7cm

Print: 84.1cm x 29.7cm  /  Framed: 100cm x 45.7cm


This print took a solid 60 hours of drawing  demonstrating my obsession for detail, that said when I get to draw passionately like this, I'm in a meditative state and the hours just float by!