“I love a road trip,” says Andy Pointon, over a glass of orange squash in his colourfully appointed, retro-furnished living room in the Nevill. “I’m a bit of a naturalist, and we’ve got a camper van, so I’m out there whenever I can: behind the wheel, by bike, on foot… We’re so lucky to be in the middle of such lovely landscape.”
The cover he’s created for us, like much of his work, has been indirectly inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 movie Rear Window. “I like to imagine I’m looking through a window onto the world,” he says. “I like to create a narrative, so people can read my work.”
In this case, we can imagine the wow-filled conversation of the Vespa-riding couple, dwarfed by the countryside around them, and the grumbling of the passengers in the cars stuck behind the VW camper van. “That’s a memory of childhood holidays,” he says, “on a country road in Cornwall, behind a camper for an hour.”
The cars in question are a Mini and a Citroen DS, both introduced to the roads in the 50s, and the muted colour palette is inspired by the same decade. “You might call it a ‘Festival of Britain’ palette,” he says. “I find blues, oranges, yellows and greys inescapable.” But he also likes to add a contemporary twist, to anchor his work into the current millennium, hence, for example, the computer-graphic road sign, into which he has incorporated the magazine title, and issue details.
He screen-prints most of his work at the Ink Spot Press in Brighton (“I like to get my hands dirty”), but for this cover he’s used a different process, mixing analogue and digital methods. “All the patterns were hand drawn or painted in water-colour,” he says, “and then cut into shapes on Illustrator. The silhouetted figures were culled from sewing patterns.”
As well as landscapes, Andy also likes to depict detail-rich townscapes, and 1950s-inspired abstract images, as art prints, tea-towels and cards. He’s a state-school English teacher four days a week, dedicating a fifth to his artwork, examples of which adorn the walls of the room we’re chatting in. “It looks a bit vain, but I just haven’t taken them down after the last Artwave, for which, like the year before, I opened up my house,” he says.
He’s found the whole Artwave experience invigorating, and he was surprised how many people trudged up the hill to visit his house. “One couple stayed an hour,” he remembers, “enjoying tea and cake in the garden. They even sent us a card afterwards. It was a lovely gesture.”
This year he’s decided to get together with a group of Nevill-based artists, and exhibit – over the August Bank Holiday weekend – at St Mary’s Church Hall, in Highdown Road. If you fancy a time-trip back to the atomic era – with a sly contemporary twist – I’d advise a visit.
Artwave 17th Aug-1st Sept, artwavefestival.org