Artist Interviews

David Wightman's Wallpaper Landscapes

David Wightman uses acrylic paint and wallpaper to create imaginary landscapes that are flooded with colour. Find out more about David's process in this Q&A.

By Aimee Morris | 06 Mar 2018

David Wightman uses acrylic paint and wallpaper to create imaginary landscapes that are flooded with colour. In 2014/15, the artist collaborated with the Swiss fashion house Akris. David’s icy, mountainous scenes lent themselves perfectly to a range of stylish winter wear.


David Wightman in his studio.


The artist has exhibited his striking landscapes at shows and fairs throughout the UK, as well as in France, Canada and the US. Let’s head to David’s studio to find out how the magic happens.


Four paintings hanging in David's studio.


You use an interesting combination of acrylic paint and collaged wallpaper on canvas. Can you tell us about your process?

The surfaces of my paintings are created using collaged wallpaper. Each piece of paper is hand-cut and collaged using a process similar to marquetry. Once the surface of the canvas is collaged, I begin painting.


Cutting board and cartoon.


Colour is one of the most important aspects of my work so I spend a long time experimenting with different colour combinations before painting. My cartoons (preparatory drawings) are the basis of all of my landscape compositions. These become paintings or prints - or both!


Colour swatches.


What's the concept behind the titles of your works?

My paintings and prints are named after people I’ve met, songs, biblical and mythical figures, and interesting words I’ve taken note of. My naming convention is a small rebellion against the conceptual titles that are so prevalent in contemporary art.


Ottoline ii by David Wightman.


Are your landscapes imagined or based on real scenes?

My landscapes are entirely imaginary. My very early landscapes were based on real places. However, I found myself tweaking and combining real landscape scenes to such a large extent that I eventually moved away from depicting real places altogether. 


EMPIRE, David's solo show with Long _ Ryle, London.


I now start with a large blank piece of paper and start drawing and blocking in shapes. My compositions look very rough and impressionistic to start with.


Beatrix iii cartoon.


Eventually, I’ll be happy with a loose composition and start adding details. I want to remain completely free to create beautiful landscapes that don’t rely on being real.


Beatrix iii, completed and hanging in David's studio.


What are your ambitions for the future?

I have my first non-UK solo show planned this year with Duran|Mashaal Gallery in Montreal, Canada. I’d love to continue showing internationally while pushing myself creatively.


Ottoline ii up in David's studio.


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