Sign up for our weekly newsletter
The Comedy of Errors

Art Works: Laine Tomkinson

25 June 13 words: Art Works

Laine Tomkinson tells us about her piece 'Gil Scott-Heron'

This is my tribute to the man and his music. His rapping performance style and politicised poems/songs were important to me, and I was lucky enough to see him perform at the Hacienda in the nineties. To the casual observer there isn’t much to link the soul of the man to my print but, as with all my works, there are pointers that reference the subject matter. Gil was a skinny black guy with a big afro and many of his album covers have that typical seventies sepia look. I used an earthy palette with a bold shot of red - red being synonymous with left wing politics.

I began it at Leicester Print Workshop and completed it in my kitchen. Initially it wasn’t masculine enough, so I took it home and overprinted everything with a deep umber colour to add complexity. Lastly I added a repeating arch shape in a rich blue colour on the edges - then it was something worth looking at.

My art varies from abstraction to figurative, although a constant seems to be that they are energetic, elemental works. A memory of a place, the joy of jazz, or the evocation of winter. All these experiences spark the need in me to physically describe my initial emotions.

I studied fine art Printmaking at the University of Central Lancaster in the late-seventies, and after fifteen years as a project manager I have become a self-employed artist educator. I’m currently represented by the Tarpey Gallery in the East Midlands.

An important part of my career was being Artist in Residence at Leicester Print Workshop for six months. It was wonderful to meet other East Midlands printmakers and discover the range of printing techniques out there. I went from working only in intaglio processes, to experimenting with and loving silk screen printing. I was also recently shortlisted for the Printmaker of the Year award by Printfest - an annual festival celebrating printmaking. One guy walked in and immediately selected my Barcelona print, he told me that he was a fan of the St Ives School of Painting - vivid colours and abstracted forms - and that he’d seen the print on the festival website and had driven fifty miles especially to buy it.

I admire painterly artists who have a good feel for colour; currently I’m looking at Tapies, Howard Hodgkin and Patrick heron. Though, as a trailblazer in taking forward printmaking processes, Picasso is the one and only.

As an artist you’re constantly honing your skills and developing by reflecting on earlier work, then taking the best ideas or colours one step further. That buzzy feeling when everything is coming together, the colours are singing and the print just works, that’s when I love being a printmaker. /


We have a favour to ask…

LeftLion is Nottingham’s meeting point for information about what’s going on in our city, from the established organisations to the grassroots. We want to keep what we do free to all to access, but increasingly we are relying on revenue from our readers to continue. Can you spare a few quid each month to support us?

Support LeftLion now