This post has been reedited in light of my tutor’s comments about not including enough detail about my working process.

Ideas and primary research.

There was a lot key words to spark off ideas:

ropes, chains, catwalk, rope ladders, hammock, houses like sacks, clothes hangars, terrace like gondolas, skins of water, baskets on strings, dumb waiters, cable cars, spider web, void.

I looked at a lot of images of cliffs, precipices, walkways, hanging chairs, hammocks etc.

For secondary research I found a lot of interesting interpretations on line.

I found myself pursuing 3 different approaches. Firstly I tried a one point perspective approach.


sketch (one point perspective)

Second, I tried to explore a three point perspective view, looking down at the city from above, with the cliffs disappearing into the distance. I couldn’t get this to work at all.

threepoint 4

second approach, three point perspective

Finally, I looked at work by W H Robinson and imagined actually being amongst the city. I loosely used isometric perspective to get the feeling of floating in space.

isometric 2

sketch (isometric)

First approach.



sketch for approach 1


sketch for approach 1

I wanted to create the cliff face using a mono print technique. It took several attempts before I was happy with the effect. I made some rubbings of wires to use as the cables holding the houses. I made a cardboard model of a house as the template for all the houses. This was using a straight forward viewpoint.


cliff mono print


cliff mono print


wire rubbings

Although I felt this approach covered the brief I felt it was unsatisfactory. It was too similar to some of the other interpretations I had seen on line and it didn’t include any of the details of people’s lives which I had liked in the brief.


first approach

Second approach

I made various sketches of my ideas for a three point perspective approach, with the viewpoint being above the cliffs and city looking down but this was difficult to get to work.


sketch for approach 2


sketch for approach 2


sketch for approach 2

I started by turning the mono print upside down which didn’t look right.


cliffs upside down

In order to get the perspective right I had to I build a  model using wooden blocks and a ribbon as a river at the bottom.


wood block cliff

I used photographs of the block “cliff” to make more mono prints of the cliffs.


mono print cliffs


mono print cliffs

I then used the wire rubbings and house template as before to create the image. I had altered the image and I again quite liked it but I had not resolved how to include more detail.


second approach

Third approach

By this time I was really scratching my head to work out how deal with the different scales, to include the small details but also give some idea of the gigantic void. I made a series of drawings of suspended objects and I placed these digitally on the cliff mono print. The problem with this solution was that I got the void, the details but it didn’t feel like a city.


drawings placed on mono print cliff

Again I tried making another rough model using a shoe box to try and visualise a solution.


shoebox model

I imagined myself moving in amongst the suspended houses and went back to look at the W H Robinson images which I liked. He was brilliant at portraying the idea of every day life combined with a bizarre situation. He used either one point perspective or isometric perspective so this was my starting point. I was trying to get the feeling of being within the city, of being in amongst all the people and suspended objects.


mono print background and the drawings placed onto a sky background

I started with the sky as the backdrop and placed lines representing the wires on an isometric grid layout. I suspended the objects and people from these wires. This started to give me the right feeling and I then realised that as I flew through the air, looking down slightly, I could see some land far below. I tried an old mono print as the ground far below. I altered the colour and intensity of the mono print to a misty green to give the impression of great distance. It was then a question of fiddling around for a long time with the placement of the wires and little drawings to get a good composition.


fiddling with the composition


I decided I didn’t need the wires to follow the grid any more, that I would orientate them instead to make a more interesting composition. I had to decide which objects and people were closer and which further away and scale them appropriately. Finally I used little houses suspended and getting smaller as they disappeared into the void to give the idea of a city.


final image


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