I can remember the overwhelming excitement, awe and envy I felt when I first came across Bill Bate's work hanging on the wall of the gallery opposite me at the Edinburgh Art Fair. Mark and Gina from the Coombe Gallery, although initially eyed up as competitors became great pals over the weekend and we had a hoot! I mentioned to Mark that if we had a successful weekend I would purchase the piece that had stared at me so intently over the course of the weekend. Edinburgh Art Fair was not for me, we did well but I found it a cattle market and lacking any curation on behalf of most of the galleries, desperate to sell anything but in and among the madness here was this artist creating a quality of figurative work,with imagination and a romanticism that I couldn't forget. I never got my original... but I am so delighted to introduce Bill Bate to Tig Gallery as the last of many incredible artists I have had the privilege of finding, representing and working with.
WHAT TRAINING HAVE YOU HAD?I studied art from my schooldays through to my A level in Art and then moving onto complete my BA FINE ART, specialising in Painting at Central School of Art and Design, London.
WHAT ARE YOUR INSPIRATIONS AND ARTISTIC INFLUENCES
I’ve always been interested in art and the human form specifically. Michelangelo and Caravaggio have always been a great source of inspiration. As I have developed I have become more experimental, less concerned with realism (whilst still recognising this as important) but more involved with painted atmosphere. Other artists that inspire me are Klimt, RothKo, Kinevsky and Schiele, all for their use of paint and drawing. Music is also a great source of inspiration.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR ARTISTIC PRACTICE.
I usually work on a few paintings at a time, I can never seem to concentrate on just one. I put them aside, hanging on a wall and I will work on another alongside it. I normally have 1 just started, 3 or 4 at the mid stages and 1 quite nearly finished. I start with a sketch, normally I have a vague idea of what it is I want to achieve but the painting will change as it develops and usually takes on a life of its own – ending up quite different from my original idea.
WHY DO YOU DO WHAT YOU DO?
I love painting and there is always something to express or develop. It is great to see what happens…but other than enjoying it I don’t know why I do it.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE AN AUDIENCE TO TAKE AWAY FROM YOUR WORK?
I want a viewer to be excited or moved somehow but ultimately interpret it for them self. I remember living in a flat share years ago and I had a painting of mine hanging up in the living room. It was quite a party house and saw numerous people moving through it but I remember everyone seeing something in the piece itself that differed to the person before.
DESCRIBE YOUR PRELIMINARY PROCESS.
Normally, I will sketch out the initial figure or composition with pencil or charcoal, then go over it with a wash or base coat/ ground so that the canvas and sketch are still visible. I keep working in layers of washes developing the figure, working usually from dark to light. It always varies as far as the ground colours are concerned, sometimes I use a deep blue mixed with a burnt umber other times sienna and browns are mixed with varnish and white spirit to give a vibrant, luminescent grounding.
DESCRIBE A TYPICAL DAY IN YOUR STUDIO.
Plenty of Tea and Coffee, starting at about 11am going on until 7or 8. I like to listen to Radio 6 and move on to my own music collection later in the day. Music really helps get me going and keeping me ‘in the zone.’