TRCH Nov 19

Art Works: Robin Perko

4 November 19 interview: LeftLion

There's not many traditional portrait painters left...

Robin Perko
Giuseppe from Palermo

It's so difficult for an artist to choose their favourite work. Each painting is like your baby, forged through blood, sweat and tears. I used to think art was something you got good at and then just did, but over the years I learned that artists need to go through these ups and downs in order to create work with real feeling.

I paint in oils for their technical handling, and because I feel like it connects the fabric of the past to my work. My interest in realism painting began in 2008 where I decided to seek out traditional mentorship, and eventually I connected to a great lineage of painters – a truly humbling experience.

Giuseppe from Palermo was created during my time at art school in Florence, after years spent in the mountains in France honing my intentions – I worked for a long time to make that leap. Giuseppe was another artist and my friend. He sat for me for three weeks of mornings while I painted. The canvas was huge, and it took swathes of agony and ecstasy to fill it. This painting took me to the Royal Society of Portrait Painters annual exhibition, and got me shortlisted to portrait the Archbishop of Canterbury. 

There aren't very many traditional portrait painters left. These days I paint landscapes and still lifes too, and I get a huge creative boost from teaching. I run atelier-style sessions, with collective learning in the tradition of old European art schools. In the summer my students ask for landscape tuition, in the winter, portraits. Sometimes someone gets really keen and books me for individual tuition on a subject or place, and that's always great, to facilitate such enthusiasm - and like historic ateliers, we learn from each other. 

Robin's new exhibition, [email protected], runs from Friday 8 - Wednesday 13 November at Broadway Cinema gallery. All paintings will be for sale.

Robin Perko instagram