New beginnings and new projects are a little more thin on the ground than usual this January, as continued lockdown regulations have put a damper on many New Year’s Resolutions.The downbeat start to 2021 has made the team at The Net Gallery all the more thankful for its artist members, many of whom are continuing to create against the odds. But just how are those artists working, and where? And what does that process look like?
To answer those questions, The Net Gallery is working with its members to create a new 3D tour series capturing their studio spaces and giving exclusive behind-the-scenes access to their working process and environment. With the aim of creating an online archive of diverse creative practices, the tours combine virtual and enhanced reality with artist interviews and original video content.
Four 3D Studio Tours are currently available on The Net Gallery website, providing in-depth access to the working lives of artists Ian Goldsmith, Matthew Burrows, Sarah Jane Moon and Tom Croft. Read on to learn more about each of the artists and keep a look out for more studio tours coming soon.
A still from Ian Goldsmith’s Studio Tour, taken from scan footage captured by The Net Gallery.
“Like many studios, I think, it used to serve another purpose – it was a bedroom once… I like the fact that this is just a bedroom, it’s just a room. Anybody can turn any room into a studio.”
Founder of the CBPP (Contemporary British Portrait Painters – thecbpp.org), a collective of some of Britain’s foremost portrait painters, Ian Goldsmith is an inquisitive British representational artist whose work is held in private collections around the world. His practice explores the interplay of light and colour to an almost scientific level, but often with a subtle sense of humour.
Goldsmith’s studio is a bright room with a slanting roof and artwork arranged in every available space. A tour of the studio reveals a skateboard, drying space, discussions of reference photos and the problematic nature of the phrase “flesh tone”. In addition to the interactive, click-through studio tour, a video tour narrated by Goldsmith is available, providing more information and insight into the works on show.
You can explore Ian Goldsmith’s studio here.
A still from Matthew Burrows’ Studio Tour, taken from scan footage captured by The Net Gallery.
“Needless to say, the studio is always adapting and changing as I develop new work and experiment with new ideas so in the future it will look different, but I hope you have learned something about my work and can take something away from that that can help you do what you do.”
Matthew Burrows MBE is a contemporary painter and the founder of Artist Support Pledge, a global movement in support of artists and makers. Burrows lives and works in the UK and is represented by Vigo Gallery London. He speaks of painting as a form of subsistence, dependent on and arising from the ground at his feet. Through the layering of colour and line, he creates images that invite mediation and a slow unraveling of space and experience.
Burrows’ studio consists of two large rooms with four main areas for drawing, painting, making and research. The clickthrough tour reveals an inspiration wall, coloured canes for sculptural work, sketchbooks and notes on some of the books Burrows finds most useful to his artistic process. Burrows’ narrated video discusses some of these areas in greater detail, as well as talking about some of the work spread around the studio.
You can explore Matthew Burrows’ studio here.
Sarah Jane Moon
A still from Sarah Jane Moon’s Studio Tour, taken from scan footage captured by The Net Gallery.
“There are a number of postcards of paintings on the wall. Many of my favourite painters are here including Jenny Saville, Cecily Brown, Maria Lassnig… There’s a whole lot of people I find very inspiring here.”
Sarah Jane Moon’s work explores identity, sexuality and gender presentation as well as interrogating formal painterly concerns. Specialising in portraiture and figurative painting, Moon has exhibited with the National Portrait Gallery, Royal Society of Portrait Painters, Royal Institute of Oil Painters, New English Art Club and the New Zealand Portrait Gallery among others. She has been a recipient of the Arts Charitable Trust Award, the Bulldog Bursary for Portraiture and in 2020 was made a candidate for membership to the Royal Society of Portrait Painters.
Moon’s studio space is packed with portraits of influential figures, from Egyptian feminist Nawal El Saadawi to campaigner Peter Tatchell. Notes in the virtual tour discuss the paintings on show as well as some of Moon’s most used tools, while the narrated video tour talks about the subjects of the paintings and the processes that go into creating them.
You can explore Sarah Jane Moon’s studio here.
A still from Tom Croft’s Studio Tour, taken from scan footage captured by The Net Gallery.
“While traditionally portrait painters would work entirely from life – and there are still painters working today in that manner – I like a combination of live sittings where possible and lots of photographic references that I take.”
Respected portrait painter Tom Croft, the mastermind behind the incredible Portraits for NHS Heroes initiative, has produced paintings for a wide range of clients, from Manchester United Football Club to Oxford colleges and family portraiture. Croft’s notable portraits include the first female Bishop Libby Lane, author Mark Haddon, former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, BBC Arts editor Will Gompertz, Radiohead bass player Colin Greenwood, performing artist and humanitarian Octopizzo from Kibera, Ride drummer Loz Colbert, footballers Wayne Rooney, David Beckham and Ryan Giggs.
Last but by no means least, Croft’s studio has everything a painter could need, including a deck chair out the front. The interactive tour gives notes on some of the artist’s visible tools and paintings, while the narrated video tour offers an insight into his approach to palettes and portraiture.
You can explore Tom Croft’s studio here.