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Jolene Liam breaks away from orthographic drawing to depict confusion and confession

Jan-Carlos Kucharek

Jolene Liam confirms her position as an architectural illustrator with a distinctive style. with pencil bird’s-eye views that take third place, practitioner

After Party. Pencil on paper,  594 × 841mm.
After Party. Pencil on paper, 594 × 841mm. Credit: Jolene Liam

Third place, Practitioner
Jolene Liam
Freelance architect, London

This is the fourth time that Liam has made it into the Eye Line winning line-up and the second time that she has come in third place – a statistic that confirms her position as an architectural illustrator with a distinctive style that has resonated for different judging panels over the years. The secret of her success is that every year she fine-tunes her work to address a subtly different but invariably personal spatial experience. 

This year’s investigations include the chaos in her room the morning after the night before and perceptual musings on her experience of using the Barbican. After Party, says Liam, ‘is about the nightly negotiation of territories that comes with sharing a bed and space with someone else…and the constant adjustments made in the search for meaningful connections and relationships.’ Barbican High Walk meanwhile, searches ‘for a visual equivalent of surround sound’; the work ‘aims to capture the entirety of spaces from within, breaking away from the confines of orthographic drawing’.

‘While she’s really caught the sense of confusion one experiences when using the High Walk, I think After Party has a confessional nature that references the likes of Tracy Emin,’ thought Wigglesworth. Chou however found it more embedded in the dérive, where ‘something reminds me of Situationist mapping.’ Either way, it remains Liam’s signature ‘graphic anthropology of lived experience’.

Eye Line award winning drawings from this and previous years


Barbican high walk.
Barbican high walk. Credit: Jolene Liam