Madame Poppy Waddilove's Pursuit for Progress and Love.
Poppy Waddilove swings in the playground amongst Cecil Beaton and Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Interview with Patrick Morgan RCA.
I'm quite fascinated about the way characters are portrayed in that time - there's a sense of allure, mystery and everything is very considered.
PM - When looking through your work I get a sense, a feeling of beauty and desire, Nobility and sensuality with a refined Rococo twist.
How does history and the past inform your working practice?
PW - Thank you for your lovely insight into my work.
Yes, all these things and especially desire play a big part in my work. I am quite drawn to sensuality and I suppose that sort of romanticised yearning for something more. I have always been quite attracted to period dramas and regularly have them playing whilst I paint. I'm quite fascinated about the way characters are portrayed in that time - there's a sense of allure, mystery and everything is very considered. Not much is spoken but there tends to be this calm but dangerous mood lingering in then air which I find interesting.
I find the luminous colours in the paintings around that time so beautiful and the people portrayed are always a little haunting.
I also visit the British Museum and the V&A quite a lot. I find the luminous colours in the paintings around that time so beautiful and the people portrayed are always a little haunting. These are the characters that stay with me.
It's something that mentally really calms me as well .. I feel myself transporting to a different time and it really takes me away from the present. Just pure escapism.
Whether it's an excited reaction to the twist of a chair, sadness in a facial expression or a particular colour palette that I find exciting.
PM - Your approach to illustration is very painterly, and enriched with an art backbone, what make's you decide what to paint or draw?
PW - Just if I feel any kind of emotion observing what I am looking at. Whether it's an excited reaction to the twist of a chair, sadness in a facial expression or a particular colour palette that I find exciting. It can be something very small but contribute a lot to the overall mood of a drawing/painting. I like things where I can see a sense of movement as well.
I have a lot of dreams about numerous corridors/doors/rooms in one house and I am just endlessly entering into another one, stumbling into new and varied situations. That is how I think and feel when I paint these rooms - that it is a bit of a mystery.
PM - You do many portraits and interiors, what's your feelings to the face of today and does the interior represent the human, or the life story of its owner?
PW - I am attracted to certain expressions that is difficult to put into words. But I normally like to see a slight balance of vulnerability and strength into one expression, if that makes sense. I've always been quite drawn to both those elements in a personality and on paper.
That's an interesting question, I don't actually think of interiors as even having an owner. I suppose I just think of it as a space where situations happen. I have a lot of dreams about numerous corridors/doors/rooms in one house and I am just endlessly entering into another one, stumbling into new and varied situations. That is how I think and feel when I paint these rooms - that it is a bit of a mystery. It is a space for you to just step in and create your own scenario/story.
PM - When you set up to paint, do you have a certain way of setting up your palette and is your work an escape from the world of today, to create these dream like environments and homes.
PW - Yes, to set up - I have a couple of boards/glass on hand and use one palette to blob a multitude of colours randomly and the other palette to mix. Nothing is orderly - I am not a massively organised person. I like to work spontaneously and feel my way as I go along.
I take myself to a place where I tend to romanticise every day situations and realities a lot - even when I am not painting. It has really helped me get through some situations which I felt were quite tough at the time and it enables me to see the world in a lighter way which is what I like to bring out in my work. Painting interiors take me to a really happy place that nothing else seems to come close to.
Yes my work is just pure escapism - which is funny as I wrote that even before you said it here. I think for every artist they feel that way about their work to some level.
I remember feeling a lot of frustrations as a young child and I used to shut myself in my room for hours and draw and write poetry about things that I thought were beautiful or even funny to express whatever I was feeling. I am a huge daydreamer (I suppose what creative person isn't ) I take myself to a place where I tend to romanticise every day situations and realities a lot - even when I am not painting. It has really helped me get through some situations which I felt were quite tough at the time and it enables me to see the world in a lighter way which is what I like to bring out in my work. Painting interiors take me to a really happy place that nothing else seems to come close to.
PM - What are your plans for the year to come? and are you experimenting with anything at the moment.
PW - I am planning quite a few exciting things at the moment but they are in development and I am cautious about sharing it yet (sorry - I'm superstitious if it doesn't happen!)
But in a project I'm currently working on at the moment - I'm working on a slightly larger scale and I'm painting in acrylic (as opposed to my usual oils) so the work is a lot bolder and brighter than my usual paintings. These artworks are being printed onto scarves which will be released in Singapore. I've never seen my paintings on fabric before which is quite an experience. It's my sisters brand and we're both very excited to collaborate together.
PM - You have a fashion and illustration background, do you play with both and are you still designing when not illustrating?
PW - I did study fashion design at CSM (I got in at foundation) but honestly - I was not good at making the clothes. I actually didn't have a lot of excitement (or skill) for it - I just wanted to draw and paint the clothes and the people in them all the time. So I've never really got into designing!
PM - What music or noise do you surround yourself with and do you make any work digitally too?
I don't know how I've managed this long without using it if I'm honest.
PW - Music is an odd one - I used to paint endlessly to it but it's a bit of a weird emotional trigger for me. It made me go on a rollercoaster of emotions which felt too intense so I don't play it anymore.
I love playing a variety of films now - mostly classical or scenic or just fun city type ones. I like hearing chat and narrative in the background, it keeps me calm and focused.
I don't work digitally at all. All of my work is by hand and photoshop is only used for resolution and size. I would like to progress in that area more though - I would like to work digitally over my paintings and create different versions of them. It's also such a time saver - I don't know how I've managed this long without using it if I'm honest.
PM - Whats on your desk at the moment, and do you sketch on the go.. whats your favourite tools and sketchbooks, can you not live without something? anything?
PW - On my desk you will find my laptop with paint on it, turpentine (half spilt somewhere probably) Parker Quink ink, a multitude of oil paint palettes, my three different sized brushes and oil paint tubes scattered everywhere. Oh and maybe some nice flowers - hopefully in full bloom and not in their last dying days!
I think I would say I couldn't live without my diary, my notepad - I'm obsessive with lists and my oil paints. They are my favourite medium to work with.