Vasco Mourão Explores Urban Landscapes With His Pen

Architect turned illustrator Vasco Mourão describes his technique as “obsessive drawing”, with his practice focused on the representation of cities through drawings on paper, wood, stone, and metal.

Sticking exclusively to a black pen, Mourão’s work inhabits a place between fine art and illustration. Relying on his background in architecture, Mourão deconstructs and then reconstructs whole cityscapes, with his architectural meanderings occupying anything from canvas to large scale murals.

According to Mourã, his work explores the perception of the urban landscape through memory (fragmented, subjective, and personal). Recent works include a limited edition series of Tokyo’s lights—a detailed if chaotic representation of Tokyo’s neon signs, storefronts, and typography.

With his work so detail-oriented (Mourão uses the word “obsessive” for a reason), his artistic practice relies on structure and perseverance. “For me, it is all about regularity,” stressed Mourão in an interview with Creative Mornings. “What I have to do is find the time every day to sit and draw. That’s really important to me.”

Originally from Portugal and now based in Barcelona, Mourão’s pracitce include daily drawings. “I try do this with my almost-daily drawings project in which I do a small drawing each day,” he says.

“It works well because it’s easy to share. Also, when I draw fifteen drawings in a row, they all seem a bit similar but maybe number 13 and number 9 have something I didn’t see in any of my drawings and I can then develop that idea. To push the work forward I uncover something of interest to me and that only comes when I am drawing. So, I just need to be more consistent and keep up the ritual. Everyday. Music, pen and paper.”

His hard work seems to have paid off, with selected clients and collaborators including brands and publications like Apple, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, and Museu Picasso Barcelona. Scroll down to see some of his recent work.