We’re delighted to welcome Jack Paffett and his ambiguous and fluid work in to the gallery. His canvases are rich with paint; Jack works each surface deeply, layering oils or acrylics, while playing with the tension – deconstructing and constructing areas of paint over and over. Telling stories based on his surrounds and memories.
Jack’s had a busy and successful year, so it’s brilliant to have him take some time out of his hectic schedule and provide us with an insight into his daily working life as an artist.
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
After graduating from Falmouth University, where I studied Fine Art, I relocated to Bristol, where I have lived for 6 years now. During that time I have held various studio spaces across the city. My work and practice has lead to exhibiting in numerous shows, nationally and internationally. Most prominently the Wells Art Contemporary, where my work ‘Basic Space’ won the Chubb Bulleid People’s Choice Prize, ‘Crossing Point’ at Durden and Ray in LA, ’FBA Futures’ at the Mall Galleries, London and recently ‘Blind Spot’ my solo show at Mimmo Studios in Cheltenham.
Have you always been creative and can you point to a time you realised you were an artist?
Yes, I have always been creative. I can remember drawing, painting and generally being creative from a young age. I do remember during my foundation year at Bournemouth, choosing to specialise in Fine Art was a definite decision and shift towards being an artist.
What motivates you?
Other artists, feedback from viewers and followers along side wanting to take my practice to new levels all motivate me. But mainly it’s a real love of experimenting with paint and broadening my visual language.
Can you describe a typical in your studio?
A day in the studio for me will start in the morning, I try to have a routine and get there for 9am. Initially I’m drawn to the paintings I’ve left in various states of completion. I’ll spend time sitting with them, gathering thoughts to where I need to take them next. Following that I’ll often get the admin side of my practice out of the way, allowing me to solely concentrate on painting. Before going into painting I will often make time to complete a series of sketches from photos or previous studies, I find this helps generate ideas which may feed back into the paintings. I’ll then build into going back into the paintings on canvas. Here I will work on multiple pieces at once – large and small. I’ll use the same colour across different canvases, making spontaneous impulses in response to the canvas. The length of time I paint during a day will vary. If I find all the pieces are wet and I risk over working them, I’ll walk away, likewise if I’m in a struggle to resolve a work or in a good flow I’ll continue.
How do you approach a new painting and/or body of work?
Paintings for me form through sketches, photos or studies that I’ve taken from my surrounding environment or memories. These act as starting points for the paintings which I can respond to, allowing spontaneous impulses in response to the canvas to push the painting into new areas. I tend to stretch 8 to 10 canvases at a time then allowing them to form together, bouncing ideas, colours and forms from piece to piece.
Have you always been an abstract and expressive painter?
No not at all, I’ve slowly shifted into more ambiguous/abstract spaces. That shift started by creating highly coloured, mix media landscapes which have slowly evolved away from a definite subject. Even now I feel my works are grounded by sketches from my surrounding environment or previous memories which are then mutated through the action of painting.
Where do you take inspiration from?
Visual references for my work take form through my surrounding environment alongside previous memories. Often taking note of the unseen, unimportant or forgotten. Initially I will take a number of quick sketches, notes or photographs, which later I will form into further works on paper. At each stage I’m searching for my own language for these initial reference points.
Which artists have had the most influence on you and your work?
I think the time where my work shifted the most would have been the final year of my degree or the year after that. During that time I remember being heavily influenced by Per Kirkeby, Cecily Brown, Richard Diebenkorn, Cy Twombly, Jackson Pollock, Howard Hodgkin and Rose Wylie.
What role, if any, does social media play in your practice?
I use Instagram to promote my practice, whether that’s shows, recent shots from the studio or just showcasing my latest works. I find it a great way to engage and contact other artist as well as being approached or finding opportunities.
Which artists do you follow?
There are so many artists that I love following. To name a few…Rebecca Gilpin, Adam Hedley, Coco Morris, Arthur Lanyon, Callum Green, Fergus Polglase, Mary Ramsden, Rema Ghuloum, Florence Hutchings, Pam Evelyn, Joe Warrior Walker and Jule Korneffe.
If you could travel to any country to work, where would you go?
There’s definitely a few places I’d love to visit around the world, but if I’m picking one I’d go for Mexico. I feel the difference in culture, landscape and the colours seen across the country would feed into and shift in my paintings into new areas, creating some really interesting outcomes.
What do you have planned for the rest of the year and do you have anything exciting lined up for 2024?
My solo show at Mimmo Studios which has run through September closes in October, I love how the show has turned out and its been really nice to see the amount of people who have visited it. I’m now in the process of forming a whole new series of paintings. I’m looking to complete some large pieces, alongside some small works as well. Then in December I’ll be opening my studio in Bristol at Estate of the Arts for our Winter Fair and Open Studios, which always has a great atmosphere.
Thank you so much to Jack for taking time to tell us all about his practice. We can’t wait to see the new series of work over the coming months!