Here, December's Artist of the Month, David Puttick, talks about his work and influences and how being a part of Outside In and the Community Programme at Pallant House Gallery has encouraged him to explore different styles.
When did you first become interested in art?
From a very young age, actually, I always wanted to go to Art College. I was drawing aeroplanes and things like that. I managed to get to Art College and come out with a 2:1, despite spending some time in psychiatric hospital at twenty. After that I composed music; looking into different ideas, and had exhibitions of both paintings, sculpture, and video work before going back into a psychiatric hospital quite recently. It was after this that I came to Pallant House Gallery.
What are your artistic influences, if any?
I don’t really have many artistic influences anymore. I have learnt from all artists although I try to express what I want to say in my creative work, but this is simply what all artists do. Jasper Johns is a fascinating artist, but so are Anselm Keifer and Don Van Vliet. I have recently been admiring Outsider Artists; I can see some connections with the themes I have been working on.
Can you talk us through your Minimalist pieces?
I did not really see them as Minimalist paintings at the time. They were based on a warehouse wall where my father used to work. I took these photographs and just decided to do these interpretations of them. They are all made with domestic paint and found objects. They definitely represent Minimalism though, as I was trying to restrict my feelings by limiting my mark making.
Has the Community Programme helped you with your artistic practice or your confidence in your own work?
Attending the Step-Up Interpreting Collections course taught me a lot about talking to other artists. The topics I covered were Minimalism and Sean Scully. It was really quite difficult as whilst researching Minimalism, I took many different turns. I had discussions with other artists, used the internet, and the Gallery, etc. However, I created a workshop which involved a print of a Sean Scully painting that is part of Pallant House Gallery’s Collection. The workshop looked at using new techniques; for instance, creating a monoprint, as well as further research into Zen Buddhism.
Are you learning these new techniques through exploring by yourself, or by watching other people in the Studio work?
Do you find that your involvement in the Community Programme at Pallant House Gallery has had an impact on your style as an artist?
Yes, certainly. I have spoken a lot to different artists in the Studio who create work ranging from quite intricate drawings, found object sculptures, prints, and abstract pieces to music and poetry – just a whole variety of talent that I can add my support and knowledge to. Therefore, my understanding of my own experience is adapting to my conditions, I believe.
What’s your favourite piece of work that you’ve done?
At the moment I think it’s the series of decaying tree trunk paintings that I have just uploaded to my Outside In online gallery. I started to personify them. Each one of them tended to have a different identity, but my favourite pieces of work always vary. For example, I am looking at some of my early collage landscapes.
Do you always work in series, or do you sometimes work on more than one thing at once?
If it is within the series, yes. I will create one, and then work on the theme in a second, working through to complete about four before comparing them all and trying to unify them in some way.
Is your work now very different to the work you completed as a student?
We learnt a lot about concepts and new ways of seeing when I was a student. Actually, quite a lot like I still try to do in my life today. While I was at college I made large photo-montages from photographs of objects in the V&A and British Museum, before turning them into a story. I may work on this idea again. My foundation course in art seemed to discourage painting, but I started seriously as a painter when I reached forty.
You can see more of David’s work on his Outside In online gallery by visiting www.outsidein.org.uk/david-puttick
Image: David Puttick, Pink Meat Landscape