Peter Clayton works in a wide variety of paint and print media and photography, often combining them in the same piece. Over the last few years he has collaborated with textile artists, photographers and film-makers.
Peter Clayton in his studio (Photo: Katharine Brown)
Born in Lancashire, Peter moved to Leicester to do a post graduate teaching course in the mid 1980’s. He has taught art courses for adults at Fosse Arts for over twenty years and at Attenborough Arts since ’98. He joined Leicester Print Workshop in 2007. Peter Clayton has taken part in over 150 solo and group shows around the country and worked on commissions for individuals, and for business, including interior designers, publishers, local authorities, museums and galleries.
How did you choose your current theme?
Peter Clayton, Due West
I have a several subjects running through my work at the moment – architecture (particularly mediaeval churches), woodland and people looking at maps or gazing into the distance. Paths, signposts and gateways feature prominently.
The underlying theme is change and stability. Woodland has been an on-going subject since I left college – childhood memories, mystery and discovery, career-enhancing residencies, life-enhancing environments.
What does a typical day as an artist look like for you?
I teach in Adult Education a couple of days a week but if it’s a studio day – a quick catch-up with fellow studio members then headphones and music on and into creating pictures. Over the past couple of years these have been mainly mixed media collages. Coffee at a local coffee shop is pretty essential at some point. Admin and preparation for exhibitions and teaching etc. is also an integral part of the job.
Peter Clayton, Gardener, linocut
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
Seeing ideas come to fruition.
What is the most challenging part of your work?
Getting ideas to come to fruition.
How did you get to where you are now?
The kindness and support of understanding friends, colleagues and galleries and the generosity and encouragement of customers.
What were your best subjects at school?
Peter Clayton, Coastal Church, mixed media
I had some inspiring art teachers at school from the age of eleven who took the subject very seriously, who made me realise that art was a viable career path and who gave me the confidence to apply for a Fine Art degree.
Brian Lewis taught us art history, Carol Brown introduced us to modern art, Keith Spruce opened my eyes to art theory and social history and Dorothy and Rod Taylor showed me the practical joys of making pictures. Rod Taylor launched my exhibiting career by inviting me to show with him when I was in my first year at college.
We had a great Eng. Lit. teacher, too – John Clayton (no relation). He loved words and had an unerring aim with a piece of chalk.
What’s the best moment of your artistic career so far?
Peter Clayton, Intimate Perspectives, silkscreen print
Joining Leicester Print Workshop. Amazing place to work. Inspiring friendship and environment. The facilities, support and opportunities the workshop has afforded have taken my work to places that wouldn’t otherwise have happened.
EITHER/OR . . . .
Coffee or tea?
COFFEE! Maybe tea with a scone in the afternoon.
Peter Clayton, Stoke Dry, Moonlight, mixed media
Michelangelo or Picasso
Paul Klee – always inquisitive, sensitive, thoughtful and above all sensual.
Mac or PC?
PC, of course – Peter Clayton! Mac if it’s forecast showers.
Morning or night?
Both have admirable qualities. Depends what you’re up to.
FAVOURITES . . .
What music are you listening to currently?
Peter Clayton, Plans, linocut
I like to lose my self in a wide range of music while I work – it helps me become more intuitive, I think, and not overwork things.
Current preferences include Sibelius, the Velvet Underground, Beirut, and Lorelle Meets the Obsolete (whose song ‘Means of Production’ provided the title for my solo show at Leicester University last year), Six Organs of Admittance and Brian Eno.
Favourite songs at the minute include William and his Mother visit the Museum by Richard Dawson, Cockatoo by Fists and Slip inside This House by Thirteenth Floor Elevators. Wilmot by Sabres of Paradise raises a smile and nice memories of the early 90’s.
Have you read any good books recently?
Peter Clayton, St Mary's Coleorton,
Remarkable Creatures by Tracey Chevalier inspired a quilt-making collaboration with fabric artist and friend, Michelle Holmes.
The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter inspired a series of work for Compton Verney via LPW a couple of years ago.
Samuel Palmer by W. Vaughan. Thanks, Bec! ‘Eric Ravilious. Artist and Designer’ by Mark Powers. Thanks, Dave!
Mediaeval Graffitti by Matthew Champion. Thanks Sarah!
Chromophobia by David Batchelor. Thanks Gemma!
Peter Clayton, Marshland Church, mixed media
Three favourite artists?
Paul Klee. Eric Ravilious. Paul Johnson (a mate at college who taught me how to see clearly).
Things to do on a Friday night?
Plan where to have coffee on Saturday morning.
Your favourite holiday spot?
What’s a holiday?
Exhibition of Paintings & Prints by Peter Clayton opens at the Cank Street Gallery, Leicester LE1 5GW on 16 April and continues to 20 May 2016. . . .read more
Meet the Artist Peter Clayton at Cank Street Gallery - Wednesday 20 April, 6.00 for 6.30pm for the talk by the artist. . . .read more