23 4
Riches Hold No Interest, Nigel Peake, 2005, coloured ink on paper

‘Let me take you on a trip
Around the world and back
And you won’t want have to move
You just sit still
Now let your mind do the walking…’

There is a trace of playful self-forgetfulness and absorption in the work of Nigel Peake which conveys his sense of pleasure in drawing. Despite training as an architect, his idiosyncratic pictures are uncoupled from his chosen discipline’s constraints and inhibitions. Peake feels refreshingly free to shape his imagined kaleidoscopic cities where skewed cosmologies are spun out of fantasy and reflect an ambivalent attitude towards the ambitions of architecture.

His most recent ink drawings he describes as ‘using lines and words to draw dreams and maps’. In ‘Lo-Fi Dreams’ the energy of sprawling, spidery lines combined with an intricacy of drawing, produces a new view of reality, delicately displaying a system of unidentifiable streets and arterial circuits: Peake condenses an entire world, his mental vistas constantly flipping between dimensions.

Adidas Kids, Neil Beggs, video, 2003 
Adidas Kids, Neil Beggs, video, 2003

However immersed in references to architecture and design, this artist recognises that nature itself has an architecture. His motifs are intertwined in that language of nature, reflected in the order of his microcosmic worlds. He invents exquisite winding mazes. In ‘Million Dollar Riches Hold No Interest’ the ambitious sprawl of crisp outlines and endless embellishments describes a fantastic world.

Fervently obsessive, his drawings often ignore the boundaries of the page, spilling beyond onto the architectural surface and into his ‘window scrawls’ where he plays with the relationship between illusion, surface, representation and architecture. With spontaneous, rhythmic repetition, the flow of his ideas form a line of thought which runs rampant. In other compositions he explores the connections between art and music. His patterns resemble oscillating soundwaves pulsating across the page, like an imaginary musical score. You can lose yourself in these mesmerising drawings, just as Peake immerses himself in their execution.

‘Let me show you the world in my eyes
I’ll take to the highest mountain
To the depths of the deepest sea
We won’t need a map, believe me’

Deborah Jackson is a student at Edinburgh College of Art and editorial assistant on MAP
Lyrics in text by Depeche Mode ‘World in my Eyes’ Violator 1990