Utopia logo

Utopia complete

Adam and Eve modern painting

Photography: Daniel Rutter

Adam Eve expressionism painting

Photography: Daniel Rutter

Adam Eve pop art painting

Photography: Daniel Rutter

Adam Eve illustration

Photography: Daniel Rutter

Utopia sexy Adam Eve garden paradise

Utopia fall of Paradise modern illustration

Utopia gothic Adam Eve drawing illustration

Utopia (detail)

forbidden fruit

Utopia (detail)

Utopia (detail)

Utopia (detail)

Utopia (detail)

Utopia (detail)

Press release

Gregor was commissioned by an Edinburgh-based architecture firm in November 2006 to design a large-scale mural for a bar that was being re-furbished.

In Gregor's own words:

'When I was approached by Lee Boyd Architects to submit an artwork proposal for a new bar which was going to be aimed at a young market, including students, my mind drifted to the most famous folk story of them all, The Bible. Genesis is my favourite part of the book, and the story of Adam and Eve draws parallels with Oddfellows' target market. Adam and Eve represent the start of humanity, pure and innocent beings unsullied by the harsh realities of the 'real world'. Youth, naivety and exploration of the human spirit are characteristics that students leaving home and possibly seeing the world for the first time share with Adam and Eve.

However, as we all know, the Garden of Eden wasn't as tranquil and carefree as initially thought and the couple's innocence was sullied by the Serpent, a symbol of aggressive sexuality. Free from the watchful eyes of moral guardians, young adults, view moving to the city as a chance to experiment with alcohol and sex, and like Adam and Eve, will inevitably lose their childhoods to experience.

The 'Utopia' mural explores these themes. Set in a jungle made up of candy coloured palm trees, kitsch 3D postcards from the 50s, the airbrushed perfection of Adam and Eve sits perfectly with the children's scrapbook collages of wild animals playing together happily.

As the Serpent enters the scene, twisting its way round the Tree of Life, offering Eve the forbidden fruit, the Garden starts to die. Autumn which had never entered The Garden before, now makes an appearance, and the leaves begin to fall from the Tree of Life. In the last panel, acid green palms are replaced by dead twigs, the butterflies by Death Head Moths, ferns by vicious pitcher plants.

The very artificial and stylised look of the mural was influenced by my love of kitsch, things like pretend roses with plastic raindrops attached to their petals, or porcelain tigers. At the back of my mind was a quote from one of my favourite artists, Henri Rousseau, who painted jungle scenes in the late 1800s. Rousseau had never been to the
rainforests, but instead visited the Botanic Gardens in Paris.

"When i step into the hothouses and see the plants from exotic lands, it seems to me that I am in a dream."
Henri Rousseau

I wanted 'Utopia' to share his naive, man-made jungle look. I too went to the Botanics and took photos, and for the animals, photographed ancient taxidermied specimens rather than living breathing creatures. I hoped that this would give the picture an uneasy stillness and add to the sense of 'falseness', for after all what is a 'Utopia', other than a pretend paradise?"

In 2007, Oddfellows Bar, for which 'Utopia' was commissioned, was nominated for a Scottish Design Award 2007 and made it onto the Interior Design Shortlist.

You can read what the press had to say in the Press & Media Coverage Section.

Oddfellows is located on Forrest Road, Edinburgh.