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Beach Meets : Peter Knock

Beach Meets : Peter Knock

Peter Knock is an artist from the picturesque seaside town of Leigh-On-Sea in Essex. We’ve long been familiar with his work as a commercial illustrator – from the 1970’s up until today.

His incredibly detailed watercolours are richly coloured – like the set of a film – and it’s these brightly shot moments where a cinematic narrative unravels.

Much of his older work for magazines in New York, Toronto and London, has stood the test of time, and now stand alone as excellent individual pieces of artwork. As someone from a slightly older generation of illustrators it’s interesting to see how time has treated his work; we feel it adds an interesting dynamic to the work we exhibit at Beach – more recent illustration graduates, or artists early in their career.

We had a chat with him to find out more about his background and working process. You can purchase some of Peter’s prints below the interview.

Hey Peter! Tell us a bit about your background?

I work as an artist, illustrator and visiting tutor at Norwich University of the Arts. In recent years, I have concentrated more on my own, small, narrative paintings and less on commissioned illustration.

What is it about this narrative approach to painting/illustration you like? 

For my own paintings, I attempt to have an implied narrative, that is, suggestions of either a symbolism or events happening beyond the confines of the painting. Illustration, by it’s nature is directly narrative.

Have you been involved in any collaborative projects? If so, tell us a bit about your favourite one? 

My longest working relationship has been with American Esquire Magazine with whom I have worked with for close to 30 years. Excellent and encouraging, art-direction and always strong writing worth communicating.  As an illustrator I have worked within advertising, publishing and design, but I feel my natural place is working for magazines, this is certainly where I feel I have been most effective.

What medium do you usually work in? 

I always work in water colour with pencil and sometimes, gouache with occasional collaged elements. My paintings are small scale, rarely larger than A4.

The giclee prints of my work are extremely close in appearance to the originals and often printed same size to the artwork.

Have you been to any good shows recently? 

I regularly see exhibitions in London, the most recent show that I thoroughly enjoyed was the ‘Hockney as Printmaker’ at the Dulwich Gallery. So much aesthetic beauty and invention in his work; the early etchings are very strong, indeed.

What are you working on next? 

Currently I am working on a series of small paintings of lost, dropped personal items – gloves, and crumpled, letters, these are viewed as the focal point in urban scenes. I’m attracted to scenarios that suggest a melancholy, human presence, but without actually people pressent.

Thanks Peter!

Peter’s work is available below: