PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST…
Following his in-depth studies of Van Gogh and Picasso, international artist Anthony Padgett has produced a series of oil paintings, many of which reference the Ribble Valley
With sculptures in public locations throughout the UK, Europe and in the US, artist Anthony Padgett’s latest project is based on his in-depth studies of Pablo Picasso and Vincent Van Gogh.
Having written numerous books including How to Find and Create an Original Art Masterpiece – a guide to analysing renowned works of art and recognising what, if anything, is different about them, Padgett began a forensic examination of Van Gogh’s work.
The idea that Padgett conceived was that by studying Van Gogh’s work so closely, he could deliver something entirely original.
The end result is 60 oil paintings by Padgett that are juxtaposed next to the work of Van Gogh in Padgett’s latest book A Year with Vincent.
The juxtaposition creates an illusion that while there could be something faintly similar, when closely examined, it is evident that the brushwork, content and composition is entirely different.
Padgett, who works from Ascot Studios in Ribchester, studied the Theory of Art at Wimbledon School of Art in London.
During his career he has also worked at the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem and he has worked on other archaeological and monument restoration projects in the US and in the UK.
His own award winning sculptures are dotted throughout Britain at various locations including his award-winning Millennium Angel at Leighton Hall in the Lake District – the first ‘3D digital print’ sculpture in the UK.
“I had worked with 3D scanning on archaeological projects,” explains Padgett.
“This was 1999 so it was ground-breaking work. I created the sculpture, which was cut into sections, digitally scanned then cast in bronze.”
Padgett’s Praying Shell carved out of limestone also stands in Morecambe Bay to commemorate the cockle pickers’ disaster of 2004.
His sculptures of war poet Wilfred Owen can be seen in Scarborough Art Gallery, Ripon Cathedral, the Bodleian Library in Oxford where Owen’s manuscripts are kept, and by the canal in Ors, France where the poet was shot.
“Wilfred’s nephew Peter presented the bust to the Mayor of Ors in 2016,” recalls Padgett, who also has sculptures of best-selling 1920s poet Humbert Wolfe in New York Public Library, Bradford Library and Grammar School, at the college in Oxford where he was a student and in Ecclestone Square in London – the home of Sir Winston Churchill who awarded Wolfe the CBE.
Padgett’s latest study on Van Gogh is timely – Tate Britain is set to run an exhibition next year to celebrate the time the artist spent in England.
Born in Holland, Van Gogh started his career as an art dealer in London: “He was a highly educated, intelligent individual,” says Padgett.
He spent time in Paris and the south of France where he set up an art colony in Arles – the backdrop for Yellow House, but in 1888 after an argument with fellow artist Gaugin, Van Gogh cut off his ear.
“He was a very troubled man,” says Padgett.
Van Gogh was taken to the local hospital where he was treated by a young doctor who is credited with saving his life.
Padgett’s bronze bust of Van Gogh is located on the site of the hospital now known as Espace Van Gogh, which is a centre for some of the artist’s best known works.
“It has been fascinating to learn about his character and his life. He was very sensitive and emotionally intense.
It has been an honour to make the bust and have it displayed in such a prestigious, international location.”
Following his studies of Van Gogh and Picasso, Padgett’s paintings often reference the Ribble Valley and Ribchester.
Picasso’s Demoiselles d’Avignon is interpreted in Padgett’s 21st century painting as the Men of Ribchester and the Spanish artist’s cubism style is replaced by Padgett’s sphereism.
Van Gogh’s colourful landscapes have been replaced with the Ribble Valley countryside and Ribchester’s Roman heritage can be found in a number of Padgett’s paintings.
“I am painting in an original style that is influenced by Van Gogh and Picasso. I have analysed what it is these artists did and identified what was not done at the time, and then I do it. Rather than just copy I have created something entirely original,” he concludes.
Padgett’s paintings are on display at Ascot Studios in Ribchester. Anyone interested in viewing a painting can contact the artist to arrange a private appointment on 07902 342448.