Talking to Richard Tomlin

In one of our periodic catch ups with tenants of Hawks Road Studios we talk to Richard Tomlin about his time here and what thoughts and plans he has for the future.

When did you first take up tenancy with Hawks Road Studios?

It was about 4 summers ago, August 2013.

What were you doing before that date?

I'd been working at home, which wasn't very satisfactory, tramping charcoal and pastel dust all over the house. I'd been looking for a studio for a while and a friend recommended ASC Kingston, as she had a studio there.

What has it been like for you working here during that time?

It's been great, being in a community of artists and slightly reminiscent of art school. I've made some good friends. Many of the artists there are members of KAOS, (Kingston Artists Open Studios), a group of approx 100 artists, based in and around Kingston. I've subsequently joined them and become an active committee member helping to organise gallery shows. I've also got to see what the other 50 odd artists based in the studio building are producing and the wide variety of work. And of course I've drunk lots of tea and had many interesting chats....

Has your work changed over that time and if so how ?

It's certainly developed, which is natural if one spends a lot of time producing work, and I try to get in each day for a few hours at least. The work has physically got bigger and I now hire models to sit for me, so that now everything is from life, rather than from photographs, which perhaps is the greatest change. My work is focused on portraiture and the human figure. I tend now to explore new materials doing a series of works over six months to a year, before moving onto another medium. I stopped painting for a couple of years to concentrate on drawing and now I have now returned oil painting.

What is the best and the worst thing about being here

The best thing is having my own space, where I can close the door, put on my headphones, play Mozart's Requiem or the latest Soweto Kinch at full blast and lose myself in my artwork. It get's a bit chilly in the winter, very hot occasionally in the summer, and it's an old building and the roof can leak. But these really doesn't detract from the joy of being here.

What developments for you are in the pipeline?

The major one is going back to painting and seeing how it will develop over the next couple of years. I'm also in the process of exploring a narrative approach with paintings commenting on society and the dangers of social media for young people. And recently a complete change of scale and medium as I'm doing a printmaking course in Kew. There are a number of printmakers in the studio so it's been interesting to see their work and it's encouraged me to try printmaking.

Any shows in the offing?

I'm working on two paintings and a large charcoal drawing for a group show in October at the Crypt Gallery, under St Pancras Church, opposite Euston Station. I am standing next to one of the paintings in in the photograph above and the subject of the painting is shown in the photograph here on the left.The show is called White Noise: In today’s world of high definition 3D imagery and in a world bombarded with immediate and overloaded information, the term White Noise has developed not only from a definition of monotonous low level sounds that are continuously present, but also to signify a form of refuge – a sanctuary from the stresses of 21st Century ‘cyber-life’. There are 15 artists taking part who are based in various parts of London. For more info:

That's an interesting title and reminds me of Don Delilo’s novel White Noise, have you read it ?

No I've not read White Noise, would you recommend it?

Yes, very much so and thanks for talking to us.

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