Trans Mongolian Pantoscope

2008 - 2012


This artwork comprises a 540-metre watercolour painting documenting a journey by rail from London to Beijing.
The painting forms the basis for a rolling animation of the journey. A pantoscope.

The project arose from the constant stimulation of train travel, which enables particularly lucid thought processes and instinctive drawing.

I have been making drawings on trains attempting to capture the passing landscape and fellow passengers over several years. After filling many sketch pads an idea developed of creating a continuous drawing using a scroll of paper. I designed a piece of equipment enabling this drawing to be made:The portable pantoscope.



During September 2007 I successfully exhibited a pantoscopic animation at the Centre for Recent Drawing London as part of the group show 'Aquarium'.
This piece is called 'Waterloo to Richmond'. The animation was diplayed using a small LCD screen. A miniature interior of a train carriage was constucted in which the video screen acted as the window. The resulting illusion of movement was a great success.


After the success of this exhibition I felt it necessary to take the technique to its logical and maximum destination. I embarked on planning a continuous drawing documenting one of the longest rail journeys in the world, from London to Beijing.

Following tests using the Great Western Railway I estimated I would need aproximately 1000 meters of paper to complete this journey. I carried this in the form of 120x10m rolls each 28cm tall in one large case.
I used 54 scrolls in creating the piece totalling 540 metres. (The surplus were used as materials for spontaneous artworks in China)

In October 2008
I set off for Beijing from London Kings Cross St. Pancras.The immense scale of the piece presented a huge physical task and demanded total immersion from start to finish. Through drawing continuously for three and a half weeks my drawing technique developed greatly in speed and lucidity in a progression towards stream of consciousness.

Drawing is a wonderful tool with which to communicate and I attracted attention throughout the journey.
I was most commonly asked to draw peoples portraits which then would lead to 'drawing conversations' where many people would use the pencil to illustrate their point. Many maps of the world with arrows pointing to home towns were drawn. As a vegetarian I would draw animals in restuarants before putting a big red cross through them to demonstrate my dietary needs, I even resorted to illustrating my bowel complaints to an amused Mongolian doctor enabling him to successfully prescibe the required medicine. To travel and draw continuously is a wonderful experience.

Drawing uniquely fascinates people

Having now returned to the UK I am completing the piece by adding watercolour to each scroll before they are filmed and turned into the complete animation. This process will take a further six months to complete. I estimate the complete animation will last for 6 hours.

During June 2010 a section of the animation and it's accompanying scolls were exhibited at the Oriel Davies Gallery as part of their RE-Animate exhibition. This section documenting my time spent in Moscow comprises 9 scrolls and forms an animation lasting 84 minutes.

48 hours in Moscow has was also exhibited as part of the Creekside Open 2011 at the A.P.T Gallery London.

Please view '48 hours in Moscow' using the link below.