Tahnee Lonsdale is a painter of vibrant semi-abstract narratives. They contain illustrated characters and make references to religion, literature and art history. She has a BA from the Byam Shaw School of Art in London, was shortlisted for the 2012 Dazed and Confused Emerging Artist award, and has been shortlisted for ‘100 Painters of Tomorrow,’ a landmark book to be published by Thames & Hudson. We ask her 10 questions
1. When did Art become appealing to you?
I used to take refuge in the art block at school, I was probably about 15 at the time and I got on
really well with my art teacher. Art was something I was good at, I always felt a mixture of calm
and excitement when I entered the building. The smell of paint and turps I think.
2. Your work work in 3 words?
Questions, colour, narrative.
3. Tell us a bit about the 'endless search' that's at the heart of your work?
Well, originally I used the term 'search' in a literal sense, the first paintings of my ongoing
collection followed a tribe of bizarre creatures on a journey through strange lands, searching for
something, or maybe running from something. The idea of 'searching' has now turned inwards, I
think perhaps it always was a personal search and the creatures were more of a metaphor for
myself. I'm interested in the idea of faith, and what happens next. I'm not a religious person in
the God sense, but I like to believe there is something more, I just don't know what that 'more' is.
4. The characters 'Punch and Gladstone' are often featured in your work. Who are they and
how did they come about?
I finished my 'Impressions Of A Wind-Up Bird' collection and was left with that empty, impending
feeling you get when something huge is over and you're expected to start again. I figured it was
important to create some new characters and narratives, I started by working quickly on paper, it
gave me more freedom and was more spontaneous. Punch And Gladstone came from this period
of time, they appeared on paper out of nowhere, like they were hiding in my head and waiting to
come out. They really reminded me of Punch and Judy, but it was more Punch that I came away
with, and Gladstone was the place in which they existed. I still love this series, it's my work at its
5. What's the weirdest response you've ever had to a piece?
My husbands friend once told me (referring to an older painting of mine called Babel) that it
reminded him of 'painting by numbers', those cool painting sets you got as kids in the 90's.
6. You've collaborated with several fashion designers to create bespoke designs, what is it about your work do you think which makes it so appealing to clothing?
I think initially they are drawn to the colours, which is often my first instinct when working on a
painting. For obvious reasons colour is vital in terms of fashion, especially with the scarves, as
these spend most of the time wrapped around someones neck or crumpled in a handbag,
therefore it's just the colour you see and not the image. With the Lucas Hugh collaboration, I think
Anjhe (the founder and designer) liked the small details, the way a little creature hid under your
knee, or a tree grew up your leg.
7. Do you think you'll ever consider an interiors collection?
I love collaborations, and will consider most ideas. However, it's important to me that my painting
remains at the forefront of my practise,
8. In the Telegraph's article on 'How to Spot the next Damien Hirst' Rebecca Wilson, chief
curator at Saatchi recently said: "I think Tahnee Lonsdale ART is a tip for the top," - have you seen a recent flux in interest in your work?
The article has only just come out, so I couldn't really answer that one yet, but Rebecca's interest
in my work and as a consequence, her promotion of it, has definitely resulted in a flux of interest.
9. Imagine your work in someone's living room, what kind of interiors would it suit?
I think it's less about interiors and more about personal taste. If you love my work, or any work or that matter, then it will look amazing in your home. It's difficult to buy work based around the
interior of your house, because ultimately you have a buy a piece of work because you love it not
because it matches your curtains.
10. Top 3 galleries anywhere in the world.
Guggenheim NY, MOMA, Hayward.
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