When you look at the drawings in Stefan Bleekrode”s Cityscapes collection, you might find that some of the highly detailed, technical-looking images of cities look familiar. Maybe you”ve even visited these places. Thanks to the monuments, apartment buildings, and layout of the streets, you probably know what city you”re looking at, or at least what country. But…where exactly are you? Things get even weirder if you know the city intimately. That”s not where that road is, you think to yourself. Suddenly, you realize your points of reference are totally wrong if they even existed at all. This is exactly what Bleekrode is going for.
Despite their precision and realism, Cityscapes are not accurate representations of the cities. Instead of simply rendering what he sees, Bleekrode takes in the scenery and then creates his drawings from memory. The result is an impression of the city and region, an imaginary city with all the characteristics of the real one. In this way, the images are less about their technical prowess (although it”s certainly impressive) and more about the way places leave distinct, often inaccurate impressions on our memories. Despite the inaccuracies, we may feel we recognize these cities based on their architecture, layout, and natural landscapes.
Paris, Left Bank
City at the Foot of the Mountains
Trams in Prague
City in Belgium
City in Ireland
City in Holland
Canal in Amsterdam
A self-taught artist, Netherlands-based Bleekrode has created imaginary cities since he was a child. “Nowadays, I create my own world class cities comparable to Paris or London,” he says. “In the latter, I also find most of the inspiration for my paintings.” He also paints colorful, egg tempera pieces that show smaller, “on the ground” snapshots of daily life, but with the same filter of memory and impression. You can find more of his work on his website.