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Thursday 12 April 2012

Hong of the Kong: Five Minutes with Laura Jordan

One dull Thursday afternoon last August I was ploughing through a particularly boring contract when a Daily Candy email appeared in my inbox about what was going on in London that weekend.  I wasn't going to be in London that weekend but, feeling a little homesick, I opened up the email anyway.  And thank goodness I did.  The email introduced me to Laura Jordan, a London based illustrator.

Laura Jordan Self-Portrait
©Laura Jordan, 2012
I immediately loved Laura's delicate and intricately detailed cityscapes of which there are a wealth of London but also of places all around the world from Brighton to New York to Rio de Janeiro.  The London pieces in equal parts comforted and exacerbated my homesickness with whimsical illustrations of red buses, the Gherkin, telephone boxes, the London Eye and Brick Lane Bagel Shop.  

Laura's pen, ink and mixed media work is a mixture of illustration and architectural drawing with flashes of bold blocks of colour.  But these aren't just beautiful pictures of cities to decorate your walls, each fresh look reveals new details that you hadn't noticed previously and each casts social or political comment in an often humourous but always very aesthetic way.   

Laura's work is available through the gallery that she co-owns with her business partner Eleanor Jordan, the perfectly named, Delicate Mayhem.  The gallery also represents several other carefully picked artists including the beautiful, oriental-inspired illustrations of Lily Greenwood and the urban, gritty yet rainbow-hued HDR photography of Megan Revell.

I immediately contacted Delicate Mayhem that Thursday afternoon to enquire about buying some prints and was thoroughly overexcited to discover that Laura had just visited Hong Kong and was at that very moment working on a Hong Kong piece.  And so with bated breath, I have waited for the last eight months for Hong Kong to land.  I'm thrilled to announce that my wait's finally over; Hong of the Kong, a beautiful portrait which perfectly captures the spirit of my current home city, was launched at the Gallery last week.

Hong of the Kong - Laura Jordan 

©Laura Jordan, 2012
(watermark for reproduction purposes only)

Crop from Hong of the Kong - Laura Jordan

©Laura Jordan, 2012

The intention behind Hong of the Kong is to take us on a walk around the city, which Laura has depicted as a magical overgrown garden sprouting a modern metropolis all topped off with the serene, garden gnome like, Giant Buddha.  The urban jungle theme continues with the strangling, overgrown vines which Laura has used as a symbol of the imprint that British colonialism has left on Hong Kong.  

During her visit, Laura was particularly taken by the intelligence of how Hong Kong has been constructed: the raised roads, walk ways, spiral gondolas and the central mid-level escalator; all emblems of the infrastructural genius that characterises Hong Kong.  I love this piece and truly feel that it captures our buzzing, East meets West, 24/7 centre of commerce fringed by calm, green, spectacular mountain scenery.  

To celebrate the launch of Hong of the Kong we caught up with Laura to get more of an insight into the artist behind the work.

We're big Laura Jordan fans, but for the Laura Jordan uninitiated, how would you describe your work?

Mind map drawings picking up on social observation. I enjoy taking specific stories and finding interesting ways to represent creating a fine line between fantasy and reality.

Who and what inspires you?

I am inspired by the city. I am inspired by hyperrealist artists such as Ron Mueck and Duane Hanson, you can find a couple of their characters in my work. My recent Riot piece was inspired by an exhibition I went to by Pictures on walls featuring Evol and James Cauty’s ‘Riot in a Jam Jar’.

What's the best advice you've ever been given?

When I was advised to do my degree in illustration instead of fine art.

What three things could you not live without?

Yazoo chocolate milk, camera, my business partner Eleanor.

If you weren't an artist, what would you be doing?

I’d be a chef.

Your work centres on cities, which is your favourite city?    

I always love the one that I’ve visited most recently, last week I went to Paris. But I think New York is my absolute favourite.

You live in London, describe your perfect London day?

Walking my dog along Regents Canal, lunch at one of my favorite Turkish restaurants, bowling and then dinner at the Hawksmoor.

You must travel a lot, what are your top travel tips?

Walk or cycle in new cities, it’s the best way to see it. 

You're just about to launch Hong Kong, what were your favourite things about the city?  

My favorite thing is the 20 minute escalator, they have always featured in my work as I love to create movement, I loved the structure of the city, it’s so practical the way the roads and walk ways are raised to create more space. The whole city was my ideal fantasy world. 

Where's your favourite spot in HK?

Looking down from the top of the Peak at night but be sure to put on insect repellant.

What next?

Paris is being released in May and then I’m hoping to work on my dream project, a book, the A-Z of British seaside resorts highlighting the social issues around the UK. Also I'm planning to cycle to Israel with my friends which I’m sure will be a source of much inspiration. And I look forward to what stories occur during the Olympics to create a piece on the aftermath. 

For enquiries about purchasing Laura Jordan's work please contact the Delicate Mayhem Gallery.

The Delicate Mayhem Gallery,
3, Russell Street,
Covent Garden,
Tel: +44 (0)779704946

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