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Keeping people connected through art – For Alumni, By Alumni

A pen and ink drawing of Cardiff University's main building

Artist and architect, Katherine Jones (BSc 2011, MArch 2013, PGDip 2015), explains how the power of nostalgia and connectivity can be encapsulated in both buildings and the art depicting them. 

Katherine stands with her pictures displayed on easels

Since I was young, I have loved art. I’ve always enjoyed drawing as well as collecting items such as stones and shells from the beach or local handicrafts from holidays abroad. This is what drove me to study architecture at Cardiff University. One of the main reasons I chose the Welsh School of Architecture was its emphasis on drawing and model making. I even had a university project that was set in Trieste, Italy, in which I created a series of ‘object art’ pieces about the history of trade in the city. Studying at Cardiff University was a wonderful experience and has really paved the way forward for my career.

Having a background in architecture has hugely influenced my artwork – as an architect you’re trained to be detailed and precise, which is exactly what my art is. My drawings represent familiar places in unique ways. As an artist, I am continually trying to find the beauty, detail and pattern of familiar settings and objects and reinterpret them into my artwork. It’s extremely detailed, intricate work that can capture the spirit and the beauty of a place or person, which often means my pieces hold lots of memories and significance for those who enjoy them. I love hearing stories about why art is so special to people. For instance, a recent customer gave my drawing of the National Trust property, Dyffryn Gardens as an anniversary present for her daughter who got married there last year. Another customer gave my Tenby drawing as a gift to her mother, because that’s where they scattered her father’s ashes.

My favourite buildings to draw are those which have a lot of detail and present me with a challenge! One example is the drawing I did of the Main Building for Cardiff University – it was definitely one of the most complex drawings I’ve done. It’s popular with those who’ve studied at Cardiff University, as it reminds them of the great times they had here. People hold their university days close to their hearts.  It’s often where they met partners and lifelong friends and having a personal memento in the form of a drawing helps them to relive those days! 

Art reminds people of the places or loved ones that they can no longer visit, which is particularly relevant and important during the current situation we are all facing. There’s a sense of nostalgia that, during these strange times, has been an important way for people to connect with family, friends and those special places that they cannot visit at present. I am happy that my art can help make this happen and this makes me incredibly proud of the work that I do.

Katherine’s work can be viewed on her website and her Instagram page @katherinejonesartist

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