Back in the studio with Piers Bourke
Studio visits are back, and we couldn’t be more excited. That’s why we headed straight to see contemporary British artist Piers Bourke – known for combining progressive painting and printing techniques – and his new works IRL (remember that?) to find out what inspired them and what lockdown life has taught him.
Talk us through your new body of work.
These new works are a culmination of images that I have been collecting over a number of years that have been shot on phones, high-end cameras and one or two by professionals. From Tokyo to New York, these pieces are about icons that live on our streets and have provided functionality over decades… but for how long??!
What inspired it?
I like the idea of my art being linked to time and memories, nostalgia is always part of the thinking but only a section of it. I wanted to isolate the subject matter away from their everyday surroundings and represent them in a standalone environment, so that they can be viewed for what they were intended rather than just the makeup and fabric of a typical urban street scene.
I often revisit the same subject matter time and again but with each new version the idea is to create something different, and I hope this is what keeps my work exciting and fresh without going off left field with too many wacky ideas.
Have you found the past year has affected your creative process?
I think for all of us it has allowed for some new ideas and perhaps time to be a little more self-indulgent. I would definitely say it has allowed me to be more thorough in my investigation of ideas and not to give up so easily. This is mainly a product of having more time but also less concern for the end result.
What is your biggest learning from the pandemic?
To try and be thankful for what one has and not to fight the situation you are in. I found it interesting that people in all business wanted quick answers and solutions to the pandemic, but in the end you realise that it’s not always possible. The old-fashioned idea of taking care of what you can control, and not worrying about anybody else, springs to mind.
Are you excited about the return of in-person studio visits and exhibitions?
It’s what makes the job so interesting and fun. Some artists like to be alone, but I am not one of them. Getting out there is what it’s all about and telling people how wonderful you are (ha ha).
Exhibitions for sure. I recently went to The National Gallery and was the very last person to leave. A totally unique experience of being practically alone in the most wonderful gallery was very special… a rare positive to the current situation.
What are you most looking forward to doing now life is returning to some form of normal?
Getting back on the road again and finding the next awesome location or subject matter, whether it be in London or Japan – wherever I can go is all I need. The small things of having conversations and telling people about my new work. We all have our lockdown experiences but listening and hearing what everybody has been doing will start to get the imagination going again and hopefully inspire the next series.
Want to know more about these works? Get in touch to discuss.