Phil Ironside

Phil Ironside — Painter

My inspiration –
I am fascinated by the constant interactions we make with our external and internal landscapes. How we are affected by our environment and how we affect it. The changes we perceive consciously are a fraction of the information we act on. Everything we see, hear, smell, touch and perceive affects us. The way that our expression reflects us and what we learn from what is reflected back at us as artists and what others perceive and learn from it, are both equally valid. To express, in whichever form that takes is a fundamental tool in our development and the development of our world and planet.

Beginnings –
I have been painting and creating for as long as I can remember. My first recollection was of a camel at the age of 5. Between then and now I have worked through years of different styles and ways of expression. During periods when I did not paint I continued to create the unseen pictures in my imagination as part of the narrative of the day. Always looking for the spark of the creative drive, ambition and passion.

The big vision –
I had begun to listen to electronic dance music. On 27/3/2015 I was lazily wondering about my artistic life and at precisely 2.36am it struck me. Art as a performance like the DJ´s perform mixing music, I would perform using paint in front of a live audience. That moment sat on the sofa the hunger and passion to create flooded my mind. I bored everyone senseless about the idea for months.

Painting as a performance –
Starting to experiment with painting to music and speeding the process up eventually lead me to doing one on the Malcolm Boyden Radio show at BBC Hereford & Worcester which was mad and fun. I had expected to do that painting over a longer period, I had done them in 5 minutes up until then. When I got into see the producer Stuart, he said I can give you 3 minutes. That was a rush. I said ‘OK let’s do it’. At the tail end of 2016 I was wondering how to progress and came up with the idea of painting every day to force me into a routine. I started A Painting A Day in 2017.

Live Art – Risk>Intention>Execution –
On 17 August 2019 I did do a performance in front of a live theatre audience at The Coach House Theatre Malvern. It was the culmination of a quest for decades, maybe from birth. Everything I had done till that point came into play, everything made sense.

And now –
I continue to paint everyday and watch my artistic and personal development. Most paintings are completed in 5 minutes, they keep the flow between thought and action open. They are snapshots in time. I produce larger pieces which take on a whole different life of their own.

Materials and process –
I use acrylic paint either on A4 paper for A Painting A Day (the finished paintings are easy to store and the acrylic lends itself to any style) or on canvas or prepared board for larger pieces. Whatever the environment or materials I would create.

I am right handed but use my left hand which keeps a balance and has opened up other neural pathways. Our brains are amazing, they adapt to whatever we decide to through at them.

It is so easy not to do something for fear of getting it wrong or not turning out how I wanted it to be. I had decided with A Painting A Day just to do it whatever or however I felt, no hindering pre-conceived thought process. Just put the paint on and then work out the next move.

Being in a studio environment is wonderful. Their is a beauty and solace in the apparent randomness of paint and brushes, trowels and stuff. I feel totally at home there as I do on a stage or on the hills.

When everything comes together and I am on the knife edge of a creative wave it is like being on rails that are being put down in front of me at an alarming rate. At that moment the knife edge is as wide as the horizon.

I empty my mind of preconceived ideas, although sometimes I do start from them, and just paint. Often the results are more pictorial than if I had painted the scene in front of me. What pictures and others see in them is wide and varied. The process is something that anyone can do, just do it.

Philosophically Speaking –
On a wider perspective I think we are all connected to everything everywhere in some form or other. There are vast neural pathways in our own minds and I think they are connected to others like marceline connect vast forests and plant networks in nature. Quantum physics has demonstrated that the same particle can exist in two different places simultaneously, I am sure that this goes some way to explaining it. Everything is a metaphor for everything else. What happens on the other side of the world or the galaxy affects us in some way, however small. Those events are reflected in the paintings. We live in an incredible universe and we are incredible sentient beings connected to other sentient beings and to the whole of nature. If we want to understand anything looking to nature gives the answer. We may thing we have invented everything, but look deep enough and we find that nature was there before us. We are a part of it too. We often think we are not, however I think we are as integrated as every blade of grass, our roots are in the soil, our dreaming heads flowing in the wind. A blade of grass does not think itself as one blade of grass, it is a working part of the whole ecosystem we call earth, as are we.