The Joy Of… Abandoned Places

2015 Artwork The Joy Of Abandoned Places

A few weeks ago, I was watching random “Lazy Game Reviews” videos on Youtube, when I happened to stumble across these two videos (here and here) of the guy who runs the channel exploring an almost-abandoned shopping centre and an abandoned laundry building.

It goes without saying, but both of the videos make a point of saying that he followed all relevant safety precautions and had permission to explore both places. Don’t actually try to do anything like this without having both of these things. I’ve never explored an abandoned building (except possibly if it’s been turned into a museum) and I wouldn’t recommend that you do.

Anyway, both of these videos are oddly fascinating and they made me think about abandoned places in fiction, art and comics. So, I thought that I’d list a few of the reasons why abandoned places can make such interesting settings for stories, comics, paintings, drawings etc….

The first reason is that abandoned places naturally provoke curiosity. If, for example, you see an abandoned building from the outside you’re probably going to wonder what it looks like inside.

For example – before it was sadly demolished in 2004, there used to be a really interesting abandoned building in Portsmouth called the Tricorn Centre. It was this giant, retro-futuristic, brutalist building from the sixties that towered above the city. And, every time I saw it, I always wondered what it looked like behind the boards and the locks – but I never got to know.

Of course, if you get to see footage of the inside of an abandoned building, then it provokes a totally different type of curiosity. After all, most abandoned places used to be lived in or they used to be places that people visited every day.

Since many abandoned places were abandoned fairly suddenly, there are usually still intriguing traces of their previous existence left inside them. There are old signs, there are old personal items and all sorts of other things that make you wonder what that place looked like before it was abandoned.

The second reason why abandoned places are so interesting is, obviously, because they’re slightly creepy. They’re dead buildings in the middle of living cities and towns.

They’re a sneak preview of the decay and ruination that will eventually happen to everywhere that you know and love in the distant future. They’re mysterious places where anything could be lurking around the corner. They’re also creepy because they’re places where no-one is supposed to explore.

But, even if abandoned places don’t contain any ghosts, monsters, vampires, zombies etc… they can still be incredibly creepy, albeit in a very subtle way. Why? Because they make us look at the world slightly differently. After I’d watched the two videos I linked to earlier, I couldn’t help but wonder what the house around me would look like when it is eventually abandoned.

Finally, abandoned places are just incredibly fun to describe and draw. There are lots of interesting details that you can add to abandoned places that would look out of place in non-abandoned places.

Not only that, you have a much greater degree of creative freedom when you’re drawing or describing abandoned places too – you can show an abandoned place that is literally falling to pieces or you can show somewhere that has been abandoned relatively recently. The only limits are your imagination.

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Anyway, I hope that this was interesting 🙂