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Stiles COUNSEL A


Artist Peter Stiles tells Frome Life about his influences, inspiration and love for the south-west coastline


fter a premature exit from the Slade, Peter Stiles settled in Welcombe, a small


coastal village in North Devon, intending to stay for six months. He has now been painting this landscape for over 30 years – and now he’s bringing his interpretation of the area to Black Swan Arts.


Frome Life: When and why did you become an artist? Peter Stiles: When I was growing up we had a lot of art books on our shelves. I was about 10 years old when I found two books, one on the sculptor Gaudier Brzeska and another on what was then called ‘Eskimo’ art which I found enormously exciting. I remember one night my dad taking me to a church yard where he knew some renovation was being carried out and putting some stone blocks


in the back of our car which I later attacked with random implements selected from his tool box. There was another book on etching and my mum allowed me to use her kitchen to immerse bits of metal in bowls of acid and to use her grill in order to melt resin to produce an ‘aquatint’. So they both encouraged me.


Frome Life; Why did you leave the Slade earlier than planned? Peter: I had finished my third year of a four year course and came down to North Devon in the summer to do some landscape painting, and found a house without electricity by the sea which I could rent for £10 a week. I just thought it would be madness to go back to London when I could earn enough working for two days on local farms and gardens to live on and then paint for the rest of my time. I also thought that leaving would ensure


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