I always work in situ, starting and finishing the painting in the room itself. This gives the picture a strong sense of atmosphere and also forces me to make decisions, trusting my initial instincts to make a complete and original image there and then.
Initially, I find a viewpoint in the room which I find interesting or challenging, then look through hundreds of magazine pages. Viewing the subject I find what’s striking me, for instance a strong light area, a deep shadowed recess or an interesting light effect on the floor. Considering the pages, I think of them in terms of light or dark or strong colour shapes. Rather than look for instant ready-made images of specific objects, such as a chair or a dark wall, I examine the pages in a totally abstract way. To assist this process, I may turn the page upside down or sideways. Once I have selected two or more pages, I attach them seamlessly to a blank piece of paper.
Now I compare the scene and the painting’s base, working on the structure of the room within the pages, I paint the picture onto the magazine ‘in my mind’s eye’. Then I start painting on top of the pages. I use acrylic to change certain colours or darken areas. I scratch the surface with a scalpel to create an intense white. I mould the objects, such as chairs, curtains, window recesses, or shutters from what is available to me on the magazine pages. Some of the magazine colours may be wrong but have the right tone, so I leave them and blend in colours. I use thin pale paint and wash it over areas which are too intense. With these techniques, my interpretation of the space becomes realistic.
I try to leave unpainted as much of the original pages as I can. The painting’s surface, seen from an angle, is matt where the paint is, shiny on the remaining areas. Finally, the image of the room is dominant, but coexists with a foundation, the photograph of a totally different room beneath. It has taken me years to create and perfect this technique. It creates a unique image.
Alison Pullen 2001
|1991-93||MA Illustration, Royal College of Art, London|
|1987-90||BA (hons) Graphic Design, Norwich School of Art|
|1986-87||Foundation course, Kingston Polytechnic|
|2008||Sarah Wiseman gallery, Oxford|
|2006||Interiors II, Falle Fine Art, Jersey, Channel Isles|
|2002||Interiors, Falle Fine Art, Jersey, Channel Isles|
|2001||Jersey Galleries, Osterley Park House, London|
|1999||Proud Galleries (2 person show)|
|1997||Offer Waterman/Jonathan Cooper, London|
SELECTED GROUP SHOWS AND ART FAIRS
Islington Art Fair, London; Art on paper Fair, Royal College of Art, London; Glasgow Art Fair, Scotland; Chelsea Art Fair, London; Country Living Fair, Islington, London; Academie Refuse, Llewelyn Alexander Gallery, London; Affordable Art Fair, Bristol; Chelsea Arts Fair, Duke of Yorkâ€™s Headquarters, London; Chelsea Arts Society Show, London; Discerning Eye, London; Dublin Art Fair, Eire; Edinburgh Art Fair, Scotland; Affordable Art Fair, London; Affordable Art Fair, New York; Miami Art Fair, USA
|2006||SilentGliss: a painting of the exterior of their new factory in Kent|
|2005||Grand Cayman: four paintings of a private house|
|2005||Tuscany: four paintings of a private house|
|2005||Polzeath, Cornwall: private house|
|2001||The Royal Mail: five postage stamps|
|2001||Paul Stead, Head of Fitch Design: four large paintings of St Paul’s Church, Petersham|
|2000||Jersey Arts Trust: three paintings of The Opera House, St Helier|
|1999-2003||Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd: six sets of illustrations for three cruise ships|
|1998||The Ionian Bank: three large screens for their city trading rooms|
|1998||Her Majesty The Queen: two paintings of the throne Room at Buckingham Palace for The Royal Collection. Images reproduced as posters by London Underground.|
|1993-5||Mei-HaTsang Designs: textile designs for the US, French and Japanese markets|
|1993||Buena Vista: illustrations for three children’s television films|
|1993||Museum of London: Artists London, Barbican Centre – three works acquired for archives|
AWARDS AND RESIDENCIES
|2006||Chelsea Arts Society: Council Member|
|2000-1||The National Trust Artist in Residence at Osterley park House|
|1999||Chelsea Arts Society Painting Prize|
|1993||Arts Council Exhibition Award|
|1993||Parallel Prize, Royal College of Art|
|1993||Exhibited in The Illustrators, Chris Beetles Gallery, London|
|1992||Letraset/Faber Castell Award|
|1991||Prince’s Trust Travel Scholarship|
Illustration work undertaken for The Rialto Poetry magazine, GQ Magazine, The Observer, The London Magazine, English National Ballet and Pavilion Magazine.
Editorials in Apollo Fine Arts Magazine, Whatâ€™s On, Time Out, Hot Tickets, House and Gardens, Elle Decoration, World of Interiors, Uptown Magazine, The Evening Standard, The Week, The Sunday Times and The Independent.