A contemporary art commission is currently touring Newcastle and Gateshead within the Hatton and Laing Art Galleries to showcase a few selected works. A few shortlisted artists were chosen to promote there work at the Laing Gallery (until 23 October 2016), with the winner being able to showcase their work at the Hatton gallery next year (Spring-Summer 2017), which are developed to aid Hatton’s redevelopment.
I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Toby Paterson and asking him some questions pertaining to the underlying nature of his work, as well as this, I also got to interview Julie Milne, the Chief Curator of three Art Galleries, one of which will showcase his winning work.
Toby Paterson, the winner of this esteemed prize, is a Glasgow-based artist who uses painting, and sculptural reliefs, to reflect on the visual experience of post war Britain.
What do you like about Newcastle/Gateshead?: I like how the city has art incorporated into it, and that it is shaped by diverse styles/cultures. I enjoy walking around and getting lost in all the different places. I’m fond of artists’ impression of ‘Surreal Newcastle’ and love the mixing of old and new: I like it better in Newcastle than in Manchester.
If you could work in any medium you haven’t already, what would it be?: I aspire to work in architecture with concrete and big, real-life model pieces like Victor Pasmore’s Apollo Pavilion in Peterlee, one of the reasons I got involved in the art commission in the first place. I would like to build art within a building and watch it erode and fall. I feels that my art never really has an end and just keeps getting better, much like graffiti on the Apollo itself.
What quote would be on your gravestone?: The artist Patrick Caufield, buried in Highgate cemetery, designed his own gravestone: it is a stripped back art deco with ‘DEAD’ punched into it – I would go for his approach when deciding for a quote for my gravestone, yes, that sums that up.
What is the hardest thing about being an artist?: Unemployment. Chronic insecurity: financially and mentally.
What does your average day consist of: Really boring, I drop my kids off at school, I’m in the studio by about 9:15am, and I’m usually there until 5:30pm. In between, I spend most of my time writing emails, with a tiny amount of time actually doing my work (art). Sadly, no absinth drinking involved in my line of work. The job is not what it was.
“The great thing about being an artist is being able to revel in things I find problematic”
Who’s your favourite artist?: It changes daily. Victor Pasmore is definitely in my top five, however the great thing about being an artist is being able to revel in things I find problematic. I enjoy being in the presence of buildings that are really disturbing, or ‘freaky,’ because they compel me. I’m inspired by Pasmore’s ability to constantly challenge himself by locking in a specific way of working and then completely upending it. He [Pasmore] isn’t given enough credit for the way he worked.
Julie Milne, the Chief Curator of the Hatton Gallery, Laing Art Gallery, and Shipley Art Gallery, gives her thoughts on the development of arts in the North East.
What do you like about Newcastle/Gateshead?: It’s a wonderful, vibrant place. I’m from the North East and love Newcastle’s vibrancy.
Who is your favourite artists?: I’m a big fan of Glenn Brown, (an artist born in the North East, who creates brilliant paintings).
What does your average day look like?: Travelling, reports, fundraising, meetings, working across three galleries, operational issues, dealing with referrals, managing the curatorial team who do the exhibitions […] Curating is a complex role, anything can happen!
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced?: My biggest challenge is funding and making sure everything in each gallery is running efficiently.
Who have you always wanted to exhibit?: John Martin is on my hit-list, and we did show him. Next on my list is Glenn Brown, of course.
How and why did you become a Curator?: I wanted to be an artist; I always loved drawing and painting, it was my passion and framed my life. I went to Art school, but it’s very difficult to make a living out of art. Curating has changed, becoming more about fundraising, but because I love it so much I’m willing to work it all out.
Can’t wait unitl then? For more of Toby Paterson’s work, please visit his website: https://www.themoderninstitute.com/artists/toby-paterson.