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Mancunia by Callum Simmons

Mancunia by artist Callum Simmons depicts his home city in a glorious mask of sunset. This illustration is reminiscent of days in the heat of summer, sitting in the middle of the park or on a rooftop bar sipping away at a cold pint.

In this depiction the otherwise bustling city of Manchester is serene and silent, perhaps produced as an automatic creative response to a government-enforced lockdown. However, despite the quietness that is felt through the darkened windows of the skyline, birds soar across the sky in unison among angels taken from classical paintings.

These signs of life, combined with the hints of greenery, make it easy for any viewer to feel like they have visited this city and have experienced this exact view in a sunset haze.

In Mancunia, the layers of spherical gradients at the top half of the piece demonstrate a knowledge of composition and comfort in blending elements that may not have necessarily been known to work together. Again, when one is viewing Mancunia, it is easy to become lost in the fantasy-land that Simmons has fashioned. Furthermore, Simmons seamlessly blends together realism with an obsession with colour, sacred geometry and concentric circles. The latter has become a staple of this artist, developing a signature contemporary style that has gradually blossomed over his career.

The line between reality and fiction is blurred by Simmons in this instance; it is difficult to remind oneself that this image, to an extent, does not represent reality. Perhaps this is what it makes it hard not to look at.

Words by Chloe Copley

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