This month’s cover artist, Anthony Peters, is interested in exploring how an artist’s background influences their work. In his podcast Know Ideas, he and co-presenter Dan Walters speak to illustrators, graphic designers, fine artists and film makers about their process, inspirational teachers and parents, or “how a negative childhood can generate a desire to create things.”
Getting the opportunity to study fine art in Portsmouth was a pivotal moment in Anthony’s own life. “I was the last generation that got a grant to go to university in the late 90s. I wouldn’t have been able to go, were it not for that. I absolutely loved it. It was a space to learn, and to dream, and to think.”
Anthony tells me that most of his heroes say things “in a very minimal way”. “When I was at art school I was obsessed with conceptual art, and I think I still am really. That’s where all of my ideas originally came from. People like Yoko Ono, Bruce Nauman, Joseph Beuys and then the YBAs [a group of Young British Artists in the late 80s]. In graphic design, I love people like Paul Rand, Anthony Burrill, Geoff McFetridge.”
Anthony put a lot of thought into how he could represent this month’s theme in as minimal a way as possible. “The problem is that the theme of theatre is absolutely rammed with all kinds of tropes and clichés. From the comedy/tragedy masks – which is probably the biggest cliché – through to spotlights and scripts. It’s quite hard to avoid when visually trying to represent the idea of theatre.
“I did an awful lot of research in trying to get around that. I just tried to distil everything down to what that one moment is. It’s the anticipation when you get there and when you get your ticket torn, or when you’re about to go in. That’s the part where you’re super excited and ready to go.”
For some drafts of the cover, Anthony printed out tickets he had designed and photocopied them multiple times, “to make it look more grimy. A lot of tickets are digital now, but it’s so lovely when you’ve got a physical ticket – especially with a perforated edge that you can rip.”
Anthony is co-curating Look At This Brighton with arts consultant/curator Charlotte Parsons, a new festival of printmaking at Phoenix Gallery from 16th November to 15th December. “We got together and thrashed out a dream list of people we’d want involved. And everybody’s said yes. Stanley Donwood, who does all the Radiohead sleeves, Anthony Burrill, Michael C Place (who runs Studio.Build), Sophie Smallhorn, Hello Marine and more”. Three pieces by each artist will be on display in Phoenix’s main space as well as a range of events, including a Maker’s Store, Printmaker’s Tabletop Fair and a Printmaking Weekend for Families.