Birmingham is a city in which people thrive. Artists, creatives and collectives have been working together more than ever to promote all that Birmingham has to offer; culturally, visually, musically and architecturally.

One artist in particular has been particularly successful in developing Birmingham’s skyline into a series of intriguing and explorative graphic-based art; Brumhaus by Alexander Edwards.

“I deal with places and spaces. I’ve developed my style from my experience of the city, I know what buildings are the most recognisable.” Alex explained, in reference to the birthing of Brumhaus.

Launched in November 2014, Alex found inspiration in his daily commute from Sutton Coldfield to Birmingham city centre, noting the array of old and modern-brutalist architecture running up and down from the West Midlands train track.

Already an established designer, Alex used his skills to begin a project that would go on to become a highly commissioned visionary experience of our city. His work is described as ‘environmental graphic design’ which sums it up perfectly.

His creations ooze influences of cubism, art deco and Bauhaus, for which Alex credited Paul Klee and Josef Albers as two of his major influences. Stemming directly from the German art movement, Brumhaus’ branded logo is an amended version of Bauhaus’ originally signage, playing homage to the link of retro and architectural themes between the two.

“My work is perceived as illustration, graphics and design so I’m a bit of a hybrid really. I’m a commercially-minded artist who chooses colours carefully.”

After confessing yellow as his favourite colour, he uses it as a base that has developed a definitive colour scheme unique to Brumhaus. Colouring and toning are very important to his process, often beginning with a sketch of a Birmingham view point that’s then developed and re-interpreted into a scene of shapes and patterns which at times, can be abstract but still easily recognisable as Birmingham.

“You can tell what everything is, all those buildings are more or less in that order. It’s like playing around with a puzzle,” Alex explained.

The Birmingham Central Library was Brumhaus’ first print which “got the ball rolling” and is a brilliant example of his talent for representing our city in a style that he has created, while using graphic vectors similar to working-day architects.

As Brumhaus reaches its three year anniversary, Alex has prepared a re release of his most popular prints; ‘The Library of Birmingham’ and ‘Digbeth’ available Friday, 10th November. Originally released in square format, they will be re-imagined with different colours and sizes as accessible portraits, marking a milestone for the brand.

With over 20 signature pieces now hanging from the walls of financial buildings in Edgbaston to restaurants in The Mailbox and regular commissions from individuals who want a piece in their home, Brumhaus is a real gem – patriotic art for this city and its people.

Nicola Morrison

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