The Artistry Of Lancashire: David Pott
David Pott is an artist based on the edge of the West Pennine moors. Originally hailing from Bolton, the landscape of the north of England is the inspiration for his work and he feels lucky to live within a short distance of the juxtaposed environment. From the wild, open uplands of the Pennines to the dense urban conurbations of South Lancashire – the moors, coastlines and hills prompt in David a sense of awe, joy and wonder. David hopes that his work reflects this and that it can stir similar reactions in those who view his pieces.
Windmill at Lytham St Annes
Art also helps David to appreciate the beauty in things often overlooked or taken for granted. How many times have you cast your eye over the landscape – looked but without having seen? Not appreciated what lies before? Art, David says, doesn’t have to serve a practical purpose – it is there for enjoyment, but also to remind us of the beauty that exists alongside us. A form of mindfulness – to appreciate our surroundings we must first be aware of them. Through his painting, David seeks to remind us of our surroundings and from it draw comfort and happiness.
When talking to David you get a real sense of the love and passion he channels into his work. He uses the media of oils and acrylic paints – both malleable to a certain extent, producing a range of textures, colours and marks. David’s process certainly isn’t quick - perhaps something observers don’t realise. When they view a finished piece – they don’t know that David has worked for long periods of time, gradually building up the layers of paint to manipulate the colour density, the detail, the texture until the moment when it is finally “right” – an indefinable point known only to the artist himself.
In the same way that David draws on the works and techniques of hundreds of years of artists that have gone before him, “art” continues to evolve and adapt. Directly inspired by his own father, a portrait painter, David has been painting since the 1980s, when an artist’s audience would comprise only friends and family, unless the artist’s work had gallery representation. Now he feels that that the internet has helped in the evolutionary journey of art and for artists – bringing work to a much wider audience, a wider appreciation, with a further reach.
That said, the internet does not mean that artists must suddenly conform to a new stereotype, or be associated with a certain “scene” or “movement.” Yes, it might help with branding and marketing to neatly fit within a particular hashtag on Twitter, but there are many, like David, who enjoy the freedom to work on paintings and projects that reflect what the individual most wants to focus on. David is a solitary being, like many artists, and doesn’t feel particularly aligned with any specific scene or movement within the Lancashire art world – and whilst he enjoys the ability to be directed by what inspires and motivates him, he reminds us that a blank canvas can indeed be intimidating, and sometimes working alone is tough. And, of course, there are the downsides, as with all jobs – the admin, the accounts, the tax returns – no, the art world isn’t as glamorous as it might well appear on first glance!
Sunset Seascape, Blackpool
Despite admitting that the encounter might be somewhat daunting, even challenging, David would seize the chance to spend time with Picasso if time and mortality permitted. He feels a lot could be learnt from this great painter – yes, Picasso was outspoken, yes, he treated his wife and numerous mistresses badly, but his talent for drawing, technically advanced, paved the way for artistic exploration. David believes Picasso could see beyond what lay before the eyes; questioning the viewer’s perception of what was being observed – it may be an object you encounter every single day, but what if it was viewed as if for the first time? How then would your perception change? It is a connection, one supposes, to phenomenology which, in layman’s terms can be defined as “the way we experience things, thus the meaning things (objects, tools, events) have in our experience, and therefore their significance to us.”
Perhaps it is also the willingness of Picasso to challenge the status quo, to see things afresh, that inspires David. Perhaps it is why David asks us to take a closer look at the landscape as it passes quickly by; take a step back to admire it in full. Seeing something as if for the first time equals no longer taking it for granted.
David feels that the internet has also made artists appear more approachable to collectors and potential buyers – conversation can occur informally through social media; art is more viewable, more accessible and therefore artists can be approached for commissioned projects. Certainly, David knows that his work would remain unknown to many of those who appreciate it, if not for the online world.
Art may be evolving, but David still firmly believes that success lies in the core ability of drawing. His advice to any aspiring artist – learn to draw, from this develop your painting skills and finally, you must be able to market yourself and your work.
The isolation of lockdown has not impacted on David, as he is often alone, but it has brought on a period of introspection for us all. He has revisited sketches and photos from years ago; surprised to discover that there is still inspiration to be drawn from subjects painted numerous times before. For the wider community, he believes creativity has helped melt the stress and ease the passage of time for many kept cooped up. Bob Ross and Grayson Perry on TV have certainly helped, but David believes the true benefit comes from being physically absorbed in a creative process and therefore disconnected from the digital world emanating from our phones and tablet screens.
The message I take from David and his work is the importance of pausing for just a moment to take that second look. Observe the landscape, reflect how it makes you feel. Realise its beauty, even on the darkest of days – look at the colours of the moorlands, or the spray from the choppy sea. Remember that feeling – and cherish it.
Hanging a painting by David Pott on your bedroom wall could certainly help you to remember the feeling every day, so why not take a look at his website www.davidpottart.co.uk
where you can view all his work that is for sale. You can subscribe to his newsletter that will inform you of all upcoming shows and exhibitions. David can also be found on Twitter (@DavidPottArt) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/DavidPottArt/