Tommy Perman is an artist, illustrator and graphic designer based in Edinburgh who turned his talents to documenting a very noticeable but little talked-about part of the city’s underground culture. Paradise Lost depicts the city’s sauna shop fronts, the facades behind which Edinburgh’s brothels operate, not just for their aesthetic idiosyncrasies but also because recent moves to crack down on these establishments may soon make them a thing of the past.
“I started drawing the facades of the saunas because they are a peculiar sight in Scotland’s elegant and genteel capital,” Tommy says. “I liked the way they try to be discreet but fail by looking tacky and conspicuous. Their services are never advertised explicitly but it’s obvious they offer far more than a steamy room.”
“My drawings illustrate 13 of the saunas which are dotted around Scotland’s capital, nestled in between newsagents, pubs and restaurants. Many of them have outlasted neighbouring businesses to become established features of the city’s ever changing landscape. But their future is uncertain. Unwittingly, these illustrations draw attention to a tangle of political, social and moral issues that are hiding in plain sight on Edinburgh’s streets.”