At first glance, you could eas­ily mis­take his work as Ins­tagram snap­shots with a pos­ter­ised-style #fil­ter. Look again and you’ll real­ise that these pieces by Tristan Pig­ott are, in fact, a counter-reac­tion to the instant­an­eous nature of imagery in today’s cul­ture. We chat with the man behind the oil paints to find out more.


How did you first dis­cov­er your tal­ent and pas­sion for paint­ing? Have you always been arty or was it some­thing that developed as you grew up?

—My dad is a paint­er, so it always seemed a nat­ur­al thing to do.

Your work has been described as “paint­ings for the Ins­tagram gen­er­a­tion”; what ini­tially made you explore this style of ‘snap­shot’ paint­ing?

—His­tor­ic­ally, por­trait paint­ers would often edit and flat­ter their sit­ter – Ins­tagram has allowed any­one to pro­ject an idol­ised ver­sion of
them­selves. My aim is to poke fun at this new nar­ciss­ism. I had a tutor at art col­lege who had a lot of work des­troyed in a fire and he said, with irony, that it was no loss as he had pho­tos of them, and most artists paint for their web­sites these days. Ego is seem­ingly more import­ant than art!

Are the pieces you cre­ate based on pho­to­graphs of real moments you’ve exper­i­enced or entirely ima­gined scen­ari­os?

—I work from pho­tos and ima­gin­a­tion. Action plays a large role in my paint­ings, in order to pro­voke the viewer’s inter­pret­a­tion – as apposed to objec­ti­fic­a­tion – of the sub­ject.

Your work is hyp­not­ic­ally hyper-real­ist­ic and a sim­il­ar col­our flows between the pieces. Is there any reas­on in par­tic­u­lar why you chose sub­dued shades for oth­er­wise quite strik­ing images?

—Des­pite the strange­ness of the scenes and set­tings the nar­rat­ives are all based in real­ity – in the sense they could all occur. The more abstract back­grounds are there to draw atten­tion to the two dimen­sion­al­ity of the paint­ings. I don’t want to deceive.

What inspires you, cre­at­ively and gen­er­ally?

—I haven’t quite pinned it down yet, I’m pretty sure it’s any­thing, though some things can become dis­tract­ing, like friends.

If you could paint any one sub­ject or scene, what would it be? What’s the dream pro­ject?

—I’m actu­ally in the pro­cess of put­ting togeth­er a group show next year at the Cob Gal­lery. It will con­sist of abstract paint­ers and con­cep­tu­al artists – the gen­er­al nar­rat­ive of the show is look­ing at nature vs nur­ture in respect to an artist’s devel­op­ment. It’s very dif­fer­ent from my work, so should be inter­est­ing!