For printmaker Tobias Till, London is his enduring inspiration. Tobias' work combines various viewpoints – from expansive aerial views to ground-level images – to convey the way the urban landscape changes as we walk through it. He wants to show off both the overall sense of a place, and the personal details that lie behind it. We quiz Tobias on the inspiration behind his A-Z print collection and the weirdest response he's ever had to a piece.
Q1: What's the most important thing to know about you?
Not to ask me to do any DIY
Q2: How did you get into Art?
There were two moments which were of particular significance to me. The first was when I was 13. A family friend helped set up a black and white dark room in my parents roof space. Looking back there is a clear link between the compositions of my lino prints and the tonal interest in composition and light that interested me then. The second and most critical factor in making my mind up to go to art college was when I was 17. I spent the summer drawing and on my return to school decided I wanted to apply for an art foundation course.
Q3: Your Art in 3 words?
Urban, Tonal, Architectural
Q4: Why did you decide to create your London A-Z print series?
I had been familiar with the William Nicholson's alphabet for a while. I had also spent many years navigating London dependent on London A-Z maps. The challenge of trying to sum up an essence of London in 26 prints that also related to the alphabet seemed a novel way for me to look at the city.
Q5: What's the weirdest response you've ever had to a piece?
My children often come up with questions that relate to practical anomalies. I think the latest was "Why is there a pyramid on that building" I think they had just been doing the Ancient Egyptians at school and were baffled that there was a pyramid on top of One Canada Square.
Q6: What kind of style home do you think your Artwork would suit?
Most of my work sells through my gallery, Tag Fine Arts, so I rarely get a chance to see the places where the work is eventually hung. Whenever I make new work I always give the size consideration and try to imagine whether it would work in our house. On those grounds I make the assumption that it could work in other people's houses or offices.
Q7: How long does it take to complete a piece?
I worked on my latest print "Oranges and Lemons" over a 2 year period which is the most time consuming print I have worked on to date. I also teach part time and sometimes work on different projects so it is difficult to put a precise time on the making of any one piece of work. I spend most of my time preparing and drawing and usually do the cutting quite quickly. The shortest print was a cover design for Diplomat Magazine which I had to complete in three weeks.
Q8: 3 main influences?
Going back to when I first got into photography: Bill Brandt, Henri Matisse and Pieter Bruegel.
Q9: What kind of world are you trying to depict through your art?
A reflection of the way we live in and interact with each other in a dense architectural environment.
Q10: What advice would you give to someone just coming out of Art school?
To follow ones interests and stick with it.
Q11: How has the internet affected you in terms of gaining visibility for your work?
I have a website which allows people who have seen my work in an exhibition to take a second look and gives a feedback link if they wish to contact me. The site also links to my gallery if someone wishes to make a purchase. I occasionally have school pupils who contact me with questions about lino printing which are always nice to respond to. They usually also have a good insight into the practicalities of the medium. I have yet to master the art of blogging and tweeting.
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