Artist & Designer Toby Holmes creates playful and humorous ’Pop-Surrealist’ sculptures and prints combining images drawn from a huge variety of sources from classical art to contemporary packaging and advertising.
He likes to combine disparate imagery and materials to create eclectic, playful and amusing pieces. Often using discarded sweet wrappers and packaging to generally achieve a wholly disarming effect, one that he likes to think belies the quiet and contemplative aesthetic with which his work is ultimately informed by. Working as both an artist and graphic designer he’s interested in the overlap of both disciplines.
We're so pleased to introduce Little Fish Design - check out our Q&A below.
AR: What was the inspiration behind your current body of work?
Just looking with fresh eyes after a longish break at the works of Velázquez, Goya, Van Dyke and others and appreciating more deeply what masters they truly were. Plus a perverse desire to alter their work in some way…..coupled with an unhealthy love of Tunnocks Tea Cakes (milk chocolate variety of course).
AR: Which artists inspire you, or you admire?
It’s quite a mixed bunch really and of course these things change over the years, and you may not necessarily see a connection between their work and my current series, but long standing favourites and the ones I always seem to keep looking at have always been Joseph Beuys, Robert Rauschenberg and Peter Blake. It’s probably their playful approaches that appeals to me. More recent contemporary discoveries would the wonderful French artist Jacques Flechemuller who’s work I love and is both hilarious and disturbing (and slightly deranged)
One of the side benefits of working on my current series would be a growing appreciation for the more classical greats. I’ve always been very familiar with Goya and Velasquez but I’ve been more of a 20th Century art guy over the years but this appreciation for them has only deepened. Both truly extraordinary. Magical really. I can only apologise for my alterations.
AR: When did you know you wanted to pursue a life in art?
Quite young I think. I grew up in an advertising family so was always exposed to all sorts of art from a very young age so I guess it seemed a natural path.
AR: What is your earliest art memory?
Probably my Dad drawing in one of his countless sketch books.
AR: What’s next?
Not sure. These things develop organically and take on a life of their own, so they’re not overly planned. I have a habit of working on several seemingly disconnected approaches and strands of work at the same time, but that process seems to work well for me as they cross pollinate so to speak and I discover unexpected directions….which of course is the fun bit.
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