Tristan Pigott paint’s honest portraits with oil on canvas. Born in France and working in London he is a rare breed of young artist who fits into a category of ‘contemporary surrealism’. He twists proportions and scale to explore the very natural aesthetics and human characteristics of models doing what models living in London do. He aspires to create paintings, which capture moments in time from the perspective of the models in his pictures. The photographic realism of his work which, is generally inspired by every-day living in London intrigued me to ask more questions…
Tristan, what’s your story? How did you get to where you are today? It started with my parents... My dad’s a painter so it seemed to me like the most natural thing to do and I just did a lot of it!
Which is your favourite painted portrait to date? Probably one called Urban Neurosis… A girl holding cigarettes and whiskey it’s one I feel like no one else could’ve ever painted. Maybe I just love it’s simplicity.
What did you want to be when you were 10 years old? A hobbit
Which UNI did you go to and what did you study? Was Art School what you expected it to be? Camberwell… It wasn’t what I expected at first I thought it was terrible, no one really teaches you anything in terms of painting technique, but I quickly realised this was a benefit meaning I could learn and develop my own style. In reality I could have studied anywhere in London and come out exactly the same.
What’s the proudest moment of your career to date? Selling out my first solo show last December.
How did you come to collaborate with GX Gallery for you first solo exhibition ‘Act Natural’? Do you have any other exhibitions in the pipeline? They got in contact after having seen my work at the Camberwell degree show. I did a few art fairs and group shows, which went well so the natural next step was to go for a solo show!
How do you promote yourself? Do you love or loathe social media? I’m terrible at self-promotion I try and reply to all emails - I’m getting better. I don’t mind social media as long as it’s used in the right way… And not too much. It’s certainly a great tool to allow people to see your work who would never have done otherwise! A shiny computer screen will never beat seeing something in the flesh though.
I totally agree. It’s so important to get away from your desk and actually walk into a gallery. Which tools do you use to create stuff and what is your creative process? Everything starts in sketch book and once I’ve got a composition I’m happy with I’ll get a friend/friends round and take some photos, usually I’ll do more sketches and get them in again for final photos. Then I start building up the painting; adding or taking away what I feel is necessary, thinking about composition, space and colour. Things become fun when you move away from the restrictions photographs have. If I’m painting from life it’s usually a lot more simplistic, as most of the poses I get people to do they couldn’t hold for too long.
Where do you find inspiration? In people.
What do you love about what you do? Watching paint dry, other than that the creative part of starting a painting is always the most exciting
What do you like to listen to? Anything... I’ve been listening to a lot of Nick Cave lately but could range from bands like Tame Impala to Wild Beasts…
What do you spread on your toast in the morning? I’m a cereal morning man actually.
What are you working on at the moment? A few paintings at the moment… A couple of large ones where I am really exploring more with colour and hopefully I’ve got a friend who’s willing to sacrifice some time and sit for me for a little portrait.