TP: I’d like to think my work is still, quiet, knitted; sewn together. There is no style as such other than naturalism – taking nature as the starting point in representation. I’m aiming for something quite objective and faithful to the image. Though in the application of paint, it is like handwriting, you can write about truth, try and be objective, but it is always my touch of the pen on the paper. Just as in painting, you can strive to paint truth, to paint objectively, but it is always my touch of the brush. I want to paint without style, but to push my touch of the brush to the fore, to make it my own.
CH.89: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
TP: From spaces in between the norm – real spaces or imagined. Looking for gaps in what is natural and normal and somehow significant. I think a lot of my work has something to do with looking for the potential of meaning in things. At the moment, I’m looking for images and spaces with room for imagination. This could be where a physical space has actually ignited my imagination, and seems to present possibilities to paint. In painting it and presenting it to the viewer, it becomes a loaded, charged image.
CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about what your creative thought process is like when starting a new project/ piece of artwork?
TP: Fear! I think that’s why as painters we develop processes and approaches as ways into an image. For me, my creative process at the start of a painting or idea is to find this way into the image; to find a painterly thrust or framework which gives reason to the image existing as a painting. It is like imagining yourself as a performer who needs to figure out the right way of doing a certain move – you might need to do it five times and fail four, to land on the right way. For one idea or image, there might be four paintings which each time, get me closer to understanding what is essential and not gratuitous in it. Sometimes I just need to walk away, and overnight it’ll finish itself.
CH.89: Is there anything in particular that you would want people to take from your artwork?
TP: I would like them to share something that I’ve found in the image. I’m looking for something which has the potential to mean something, and in the act of painting it, it is like finding something and showing it to others. I’d like people to see what I’ve found.
CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about your lifestyle as an artist and what that is like?
TP: Finding ways to avoid being rational about your ideas, that’s what I try and have as a lifestyle, so as to believe more fully in the absurdity of making paintings! I think ritual and variety are important, of trying to have a balance between the ritualistic act of going to the studio, and the variety of seeing new things and filling my head with new images. Sometimes I need to have a period of collecting new thoughts and experiences, some ‘wilderness time’, and then come and empty the ideas into paintings. I like a bit of a rush when making a body of work also – of getting up early and finishing late – I like the feeling of being stretched or spread too thinly. Ideas seem more poignant and real when you’re tired!
CH.89: When starting out an artistic task, do you think it is better to have a particular direction/set plan guiding your way? Or, is it better to act on impulse and go from there?
TP: Having a sense of what I’m looking for is important – in painting an idea, you have already found something, and so the whole act of painting is geared towards getting that across. In that way you have direction. Though sometimes the process might yield something you didn’t expect – I think a good artist can recognize potential, rather than prescribe meaning.
CH.89: What is one major lesson you’ve learned as an artist thus far?
TP: Try and be courageous!
CH.89: Do you regard personal style & taste to be of highest importance?
TP: Yes , but style should be unavoidable. It is like your handwriting – you might try and write truthfully and objectively, but your touch of the pen will always be distinctly yours. The same is true for me in painting. As for taste, I think this is massively important, and that one should nurture their own taste. If you’re not following your own specific taste, you’re not being genuine. I’ve had moments when I know that the origin of something hasn’t genuinely come from me. In that scenario, I try and swamp myself with new ideas and things I’ve seen that do belong to me, to wash out the things that aren’t of my taste, so I can re-identify what it is to be me again.
CH.89: What do you consider to be the hardest thing about being an artist?
TP: The invention of meaning, and painting it!
CH.89: What is one thing you love about being an artist?
TP: The moment of coming up with an idea – its inception is full of meaning and excitement. I love the moment where an idea for a painting comes into my head and I run and scribble it down. That’s exciting. I know then that it is worth painting, and not to doubt.
CH.89: Is there anyone in particular, any artist’s that inspire you in any way?
TP: Vivaldi inspires me. I like that he was a Catholic, a Priest, and produced amazing music. Love the “Four Seasons”, and that it is music celebrating the natural world and is full of wonder, and that his faith inspired him. Being brought up Catholic and a creative, there is something really encouraging in seeing an artist with faith make wonderful work.
CH.89: What do you think of technology in terms of being a useful tool for artists today?
TP: I think artists should be of their own time, and if they’re not, they’re not doing their job. In my practice, I am rooted in tradition and representation of the visual world. But technology has changed how we see and perceive the world. If you spend 90 % of your time in front of screens and images and photos, then these are more true to how we perceive ourselves today than the visual world around us. If I want to paint truthfully, I need to nod to these things….
CH.89: Do you think being an artist allows you to view the world differently from those who don’t follow creative paths?
TP: As an artist, I feel you are more acutely tuned to the frequency of things, more sensitive. You should maneuver yourself to live your life so that you can see things for what they are. In that way, I think it’s the job of an artist to try and view the world differently to others. It’s like being in the sea with the rest of the fishes, and being washed up on shore, you can look back and see the sea for what it is.
CH.89: Do you enjoy traveling? If so, do you have a favorite city?
TP: There’s a little town called ‘Castiglioncello’ in Tuscany by the sea, which I enjoy. When I was studying in Florence, that was a real escape for me. I haven’t otherwise travelled enough yet – an adventure is the next thing on my agenda!
CH.89: Do you have a favorite author or book?
TP: A short story by Jorges Louis Borges called “The Secret Miracle” is one of my favorites.
CH.89: Any future goals or plans for your artwork?
TP: Yes, but they all involve spending some time in the wilderness – I want my painting to become more of my own – I want to spend some time to sift through the things that are inside me, and become more of my own painter.
CH.89: What does being an artist mean to you?
TP: It means looking for truths – looking for and recognizing things which have meaning, which are special. It’s about pointing at something and saying – this could be important, and sharing that with others through painting. I think it’s more like a vocation than a job.
CH.89: Any last words on the aesthetic of your artwork?
TP: I haven’t quite found it yet! But I’m looking.
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