Aidan Sakakini breaks down everything before him

Aidan Sakakini unleashes his love of line in his copious sketchbooks, the volumes of which reveal landscapes loosely inked or scenery snarling together in a filigree of artful knots. Born in Virginia and raised south of London, Sakakini relocated to Seattle three years ago to study printmaking, including such centuries-old techniques as intaglio etching and lithography, at Cornish College of the Arts. His fascination with facades, built landscapes and architected horizons has evolved to reflect the environment and mercurial energy of the Northwest while combining the studied eye of an old master and the unpent energy of expressionist figuration.

“I use sketchbooks as a way to navigate my world,” Sakakini says of his process. “Place and location are what I have been exploring in my work recently. In Seattle, a city devoted to surging forward at an unrelenting pace, I am interested to see how this influences my work, that often reflects the past, having been saturated with European history by my upbringing in the UK. Within these pages, I break down all that is in front of me; challenges in life and in the studio.”

He continues, “Architectural studies and recurring patterns in design, as well as figure studies, keep my hand practiced and build up a catalogue for future work. In addition, I am able to visualize my emotions and the sketching process allows me a means of confronting and letting go. I have also recently found my place in the music scene as the ‘band artist,’ quickly sketching in the half-light light of venues. The energy of the music and the mosh pit unmistakably informs my line.”

All Too Human at Tate Britain was the best exhibition I caught this summer,” Sakakini says. “It was an insightful exploration of the human figure featuring the work of Jenny Saville, Uwan Uglow and Francis Bacon in full force. This has since revitalized my own interest in the figures around me.”

“In recent years, detailed exhibition notes occupy more of my contents than ever,” Sakakini continues. “I find this the most stimulating method of research. I spend hours in a single exhibition, now often going alone to avoid keeping my unwitting companions stranded in the gift shop. I jot down effective compositions and make visual notes about curation design as well as recording artists’ choices about palette and composition.”