Who are we? What is our identity? Meet the artist that questions it all

"Everything we do is learnt, we copy, take and combine everything we see to form ourselves."

- Tristan Pigott

Complete with loaded colours, playful motifs and insightful explorations of the human psyche. Tristan Pigott's paintings firmly nudge us into questioning the essence of who we really are. Carefully considered, dreamlike backgrounds serve as an intentional enhancer, magnifying the psychological states of the depicted characters. In his latest solo exhibition 'Juicy Bits', Tristan plunges into the themes of 'nature morte', identity and the ego, whilst continuing a critique of our modern-day obsession with image and constructed personalities. We caught up with the artist to find out a bit more about his work.

There is a strong focus in much of your work upon the cyclical nature of everyday life. As well as the various psychological states of the human mind. What aspect of daily life do you find most interesting? And what mental state most intrigues you?

I’m interested in identity and the building blocks that make each person unique. Everything we do is learnt, we copy, take and combine everything we see to form ourselves. So naturally we all have a lot more in common than we might sometimes like to admit. I guess the mental state that interests me the most at the moment is the belief in our own individualism - ego!​​

Cucumbers are a recurrent motif within your work. For you, what does the cucumber represent? I wanted to have an overarching theme that connected the works in my new show Juicy Bits that was playful and flexible. The cucumber for me fits this role perfectly. It naturally has strong sexual and phallic symbolism, but also can relate to an aspirational middle class, in it’s use in water or make up products.​

In the past you’ve said that you would like your work to 'question the relevance of painting'. How do you view the importance of painting in today’s world? Painting will always be around; it’s the oldest language we have! Though I don’t think you can really argue its importance in the grand scheme of things with everything else that’s happening in the world. But I’d like to think it still has the ability to create a conversation.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

How do you see your work evolving and developing in the future? I’ve become a lot more interested in the whole space a work is shown in, rather than just the wall. The show I’m doing includes video work and installation, such as a time lapse video projected on a wall to act as a frame for a painting in the middle that blurs into the video at the start and slowly pulls away during the time lapse. However, painting still remains the focal point. I’ve also been playing with 3D printed paintings, where brush strokes are edited on a computer to make more sculptural pieces.​

How do you feel during the process of painting? Everyday there will be many moments of stress and frustration… but when you get a flow going, you become fairly oblivious to most things and feelings!

What are your unrealised projects, your dreams? I would love to put on/curate some shows, play around more with video... generally I’d be happy to keep painting! Finally, any messages or words of wisdom for the people reading this? Keep it honest, fun and have patience!

You can enjoy more of Tristan's work on his website: