Illustrating the feeling of a city "dragging you down and draining you dry"

As anyone who’s ever lived in a city knows, sometimes it feels like the metropolis can swallow you right up, chew on you, and possibly spit you back out again, if you’re lucky.

Illustrator Murugiah knows this as well as anyone and has managed to express that overwhelming aspect of city life in a series of pieces for the Wellcome Collection.

The works were created to coincide with the organisation’s just-closed exhibition Living With Buildings.

London-based Murugiah was raised in South Wales, with Sri Lankan origins, and describes his work as inspired by surrealism and pop culture. Previous clients include The Guardian, Penguin Random House, Greenpeace, New Scientist, Little White Lies and Disney.

Here, he talks us through a few of the images he made to showcase “what it feels like to be consumed, falling, squeezed and trapped.” The image at the top of this piece aims to capture "the feeling of being swallowed up by the city. The city acts as an all-consuming, brutal beast. It has a way of influencing every part of one’s life in a negative way. Dragging you down and draining you dry."

He adds: "Falling, weighted down by large monolithic volumes. Floating through the air but feeling heavy. Unravelling while falling. The city pushes one to one's limits. Falling.

"Personal space intruded. Travelling on the city’s underground squeezes one to one's breaking point. Screaming for help but no one paying attention. The tracks and tubes tighten as you start your day and come back to hit you at the end of your day."

Confined by the walls. Cold and grey wrapping you in a dark cocoon while you try to break out for a gasp of air, reaching for nature on the outer rims of the city.


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