Natural Beauty

Interview with Louise Scullion and Matthew Dalziel

„Environmental Art“ – is how Scottish artists Louise Scullion and Matthew Dalziel refer to their work. In their sculptures, films and photographs they interpret nature from alternative perspectives, striving for their artworks to become conduits between people and nature and re-establishing connections between the audience and the natural world.

For our Motel One Glasgow the two captured the Scottish Highlands in their very own unique way. The result: almost poetic photos along the West Highland Line, one of the most scenic rail journeys in the world, which starts directly in Glasgow and leads through beautiful, wild landscapes. Join us for the ride!

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10 questions for... Dalziel & Scullion

How did your cooperation with Motel One come about? 
The request came out of the blue. Motel One’s idea was to incorporate something of the hotel’s unique location, close to the city’s railway station, into the design of the rooms. We were really interested by that and immediately said yes.

You studied in Glasgow. What does the city mean to you? 
Studying here was a fantastic experience. There was a lot going on in Glasgow in the 1980s. During that time the city reinvented itself culturally and it was great to be a part of it.

What influence do your Scottish roots have on your art?
In Scotland we are very lucky in that we are surrounded by incredible landscape with a rich flora and fauna. We’ve spent the last 30 years exploring this landscape. For us, it’s both a teacher and a great source of inspiration.

Does nature play a leading role in your work?
Definitely! Nature and environmental protection are matters very close to our hearts. Our art is about building up a relationship with your surroundings. 

What importance do memories have in your work? 
Evoking memories in the observer is a strong way of coming into contact with them. The woman in our images is a reminder of the expansive feelings and experiences when outdoors: of being dwarfed by majestic landscapes, but also finding focus in the tiny details of how a plant grows.

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Turas math!

Gaelic for "Have a good journey!

What significance does travel have for you both?
A journey is not only something we experience physically; it can also be understood in a figurative sense. Aren’t we all carrying around luggage from the past that influences our future?

How did you come up with the idea of capturing the West Highland Line on camera? 
From the trains that set off here from Glasgow Central, within a few minutes you can be entering into a wild and transporting landscape. We love the fact that the hotel is so close to this significant railway station.

How do you begin a new project?
We usually visit the place in question equipped with our cameras. Then we come up with a plan, which becomes more specific with every visit.

Can you briefly describe your photography style? 
Our style is a sort of fusion between documentary realism and poetic expressionism.

Where do you draw your inspiration from in general?
From authors such as Nan Shepherd, David Abram and J.A. Baker. Their insightful observations and inspiring use of language had a profound effect on the way we perceive landscape.

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