Tessa Pearson creates monoprints and mixed media paintings in bold colour inspired by glorious gardens. She will be showing her work at The Brighton Art Fair tomorrow!!
What was your journey to becoming an artist?
I grew up in the sort of house where the walls were painted bright pink and we had Heals curtains , so it was inevitable that I ended up at art school, graduating in textile design at West Surrey College of Art and Design (now UCCA) and the Royal College of Art. My first job when I left the RCA was designing prints for the fashion designer Anthony Price, and I dabbled with the commercial fashion world including a wonderful commission to design a whole range of abstract prints for Liberty’s, before setting up on my own, hand painting fabric and selling from the newly opened Apple Market at Covent Garden, then opening my own shop and studio in Fulham. So from here I made paintings on silk which sold successfully all over the world (it was the 80’s when the dollar was down to $1.15!!) The recession and children put an end to all that for a few years but I never stopped painting and the chance opportunity to use a press set me off on my current printmaking journey about ten years ago. An old fashion friend commented recently that my current work looks very much like my painted silks, so the ideas have come full circle, but now on paper.
Is being an artist your only job?
I have always enjoyed teaching, and have taught at every level from fashion students at St. Martins to kids clubs. I currently teach painting a couple of days a week, and occasionally tutor printmaking workshops at Ochre Print Studios. I am very pleased with myself for being able to say that I actually make a living (just!!) from my work, which is something not many artists can do.
One favourite living artist?
Has to be Howard Hodgkin, for his colour. I saw a show of his at the Tate and I was literally breathless. I still dream about owning one of his etchings, but had better hurry up as they are rapidly getting out of my reach.
One favourite historical artist?
I love all the great colourists, Matisse and Degas, and the mid twentieth century painters especially Patrick Heron and Ivon Hitchens. I have a very special place I return to frequently to paint which is close to Hitchen's cottage on the South Coast, and I like to think of his presence inspiring me.
If you could collaborate with anyone living or dead, who would it be and what would you do?I would paint in his garden alongside Patrick Heron.
Who is your style icon?
Last gig you went to?
How many hours do you waste on the internet each day?
Too many. It’s research isn’t it??
If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?
Where I live now, but with Californian weather ….
Where and what is your studio?
We have just moved to a small house with a bit of land big enough for two huge studios (his and hers!!) on the edge of the Surrey Hills. I am currently working in a very small bedroom while we wait for planning to be agreed, which is very challenging. I am fantasising about the space and the huge paintings I am going to make when we finally get the studios built!!
Do you have a good work/life balance?
Not too bad, now my kids are grown and almost gone… but I am very much an all on, all off worker, and need deadlines to keep me moving.
What one word would describe your feeling of doing your work?
What would your dream commission be?
Huge white walls and blue skies somewhere like New Mexico, with an unlimited budget of course.
If you could exhibit in any gallery in the world which would it be?
See above… MOMA would be nice!