16 Stoddart Street

Newcastle upon Tyne

NE2 1AN

Mon-Sun, 10am - 5pm

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In the Studio / Peter Hallam

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Peter Hallam is an award-winning painter based in the Scottish Borders with a wonderful eye for colour that is immediately recognisable. He creates bold, colourful portraits that inspire and pique the interest of the onlooker with a graphic style.

This Spring we welcome Peter back to The Biscuit Factory, with a brand new collection of pieces that explore his signature bold colour combinations, breathing life into the characters that emerge. Ahead of our Spring Launch we went behind the scenes to find out more about Peter the artist and his process.

Peter grew up in rural Nottinghamshire with his parents and a menagerie of animals including Billy the fox and a much loved rook called Albert. He describes his parents as not being particularly artistic but recalls how his dad spent much of his spare time grinding recycled glass into dust to decorate household objects making them sparkle.

Peter has always had a passion for art, being drawn to colour from a very young age and spending his time drawing planes and tractors. As a dyslexic child he seemed to be naturally creative and remembers winning lots of school prizes for his drawings and paintings. After being advised by many of his school teachers to pursue his art, Peter went to art college but left after just two weeks and remains entirely self-taught.

"I was never encouraged to be an artist, having a trade was considered more important, so I became a joiner. It was only later that I had the courage to forget the trade and concentrate on art."

He worked for many years as a qualified joiner and at one stage ran his own furniture restoration business. He recalls one occasion when a table that had been sprayed with varnish became curiously covered in hundreds of flying insects. After a little sanding the customer was delighted with his finished table and commented positively on the unusual crackle glaze used to finish it, not realising these were thousands of insect legs he had been unable to remove. Peter makes all his own frames which are insect-free.

Peter has worked as a professional artist for the last 20 years and works from the studio in his garden. His studio is a converted school house, with large arched windows providing the perfect light for his work.

"The space has to be special, with all the things I like around me. It is very important that I feel comfortable in the environment."

Lilac

Dedicated Follower of Fashion

Silhouette

Peter works mainly in oils on canvas and over the years he has developed a very distinct style and wonderful eye for colour which make his work instantly recognisable. Though he enjoys painting abstract landscapes his preferred subject for his work is people, in all their varied shapes and forms. All are individuals with a character and story of their own. His characters are often informed by real people he has met through his life, though he often looks back at his work and only then realises the connection. Peter describes his work process:

"My work starts with drawing, trying to find the flow, always looking for the beginning, looking for the shadows and light. The painting involves a lot of layers of colour. The shape evolves out of the colour."

His paintings often take many forms before completion and many characters may be over painted before he is satisfied with the final, carefully crafted painting. Peter believes influence from great artists in a piece of work is inevitable, and when confronted with his bold character studies it may be surprising to hear of his most admired artists:

"I have always admired Francis Bacon for his depiction of humanity in all its frailty, vulnerability and suffering; L.S. Lowry for the atmosphere he creates in his paintings and how he captures the essence of people and dogs; and Modigliani for the wonderful lines and life in his work."

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