Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Industrial Patterns 9 Rand

I'm filling in the empty spots in my journal, using the double-entry date system. Most of my pattern elements come from the heroic photography of Bernd and Hilla Becher, a German couple who recorded steel mills, mines, and other industrial sites all over Europe and North America. I am enthralled by the three-dimensional complexity of these structures, which have by now almost disappeared, at least in the West. There are hardly any "traditional" active steel mills left in the USA. I so wish that I could see one in action. I have distant memories of a visit to Youngstown, Ohio in 1973 where I saw the last of their steel mills before they all closed and disappeared.

I have the same rapturous feeling about heavy industry that the notorious Ayn Rand expressed in her Biblical testament, "Atlas Shrugged." In her text she rants lyrically about this feeling in a visual set-piece I would love to illustrate in a moderne Art Deco style:

"...He was looking at the city past the taut, slender figure of a woman whose head was lifted eagerly...the sight was flowing into a feeling then words for which were: THIS is the world and the core of it, this is what made the city - they go together, the angular shapes of the buildings and the angular lines of a face stripped of everything but purpose - the rising steps of steel and the steps of a being intent on his goal - this is what they had been, all the men who had lived to invent the lights, the steel, the furnaces, the motors - they were the world, they, not the men who crouched in dark corners, half-begging, half-threatening...."

Rand writes the same way about railroads, and I share this rail rapture. Someday I will get the chance - or, like an Ayn Rand Hero, create the chance, for me to draw trains and rail yards and elevated stations and the industrial landscapes which surround them.

Brown tech pen ink on sketchbook page, September 1, 2015. This tiny picture is only 4 1/2" x 2 1/2".

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