The Happiness Machine

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British artist Mark Lascelles Thornton is no stranger to spending hundreds of hours on a single piece of artwork, but with his latest piece, hundreds of hours have become thousands. Titled, “The Happiness Machine”, his yet to be completed exploration into contemporary society includes a collection of world skyscrapers from Chicago, New York, London, Shanghai, Hong Kong and more. A fully realised skyscraper city that spans a 8 foot by 5 foot spread.

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I’d been wanting to make this statement on consumerism for quite some time”, says Lascelles-Thornton. “Based upon the notion we no longer purchase things, merely because we need them, but because we desire them. This is an idea that dominates our society today.”

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Lascelles Thornton is based in London, but hails from Blackpool. He walked out of University after only three lectures and is entirely self-taught. He says “I’ve had a fascination with detail since childhood. I wouldn’t have been able to work in the  way I do had I stayed within an art school environment. My work progresses along at a glacial pace, and this piece, when finished shall have taken 2 years to complete.

“I’ve always used Rotring pens for my work. In the past I’ve always used marker pen inks for colour. I enjoy the challenge of working in a manner where I can’t make mistakes. I wanted to push myself further still with this new work and only work in pen. Due to the scale it can sometimes feel like you’re chipping away at a mountain”.

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My favourite, or primary Rotring is the Isograph 0.13. Advances in screen technology now allows you to show your work in exquisite detail. I’ve essentially being drawing pixels this past year, and so the only way to develop this Hi-Resolution style was by using the Rotring ’0.13′.

Lascelles Thornton next piece will be even larger, around 20 feet in width. He says “Yes that’s the big one. I’ve been working up to that piece. It will take more than three years. This is essentially all about the challenge – and feeling of being out of you’re depth. I’m never one to be pleased with my work. I’m always left with a feeling of disappointment finishing a piece, but the great thing is that you get another stab at it.

See Mark Lascelles Thornton’s blog : http://marklascellesthornton.tumblr.com/

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