Artist Terry Flower will be taking up residency at Grow Plymouth on from Tuesday 24th October at where he is using the downstairs space as a studio. He will be bringing the series of portraits down from his attic studio for ‘In Search of Solace’. The show is open to the public Saturday 28th and Sun 29th October from 10-2pm. With an opening on Friday 27th October (5-9pm). Terry will also be doing some live painting and hosting a ‘Meet the artist ‘on Thursday 26 October (12-2pm). Here he meets Bracken Jelier and chats to her about why he paints and what inspires him.
Terry Flower is an artist born in Plymouth in 1961 and has lived in the city most of his life. From an early age, Terry spent his pocket money on paper and pencils as he loved drawing and recreating images from his comic books. He attended Plymouth’s College of Art of Design (PCAD) on Saturday mornings from the age of 13 and at 16, and secured a place on the 2-year Craft and Design Course. However, due to financial pressures at the time, he left to train and then trade as a professional painter and decorator, doing art and craft in his spare time.
Terry did return to PCAD (which is now Arts University Plymouth) at 25 years old to complete a two year diploma in Ceramics and Glass, where he was awarded distinction for his work.
Fast forward to 2021, aged 60, Terry sought out and took on a top-floor studio at Grow Plymouth Studios. His father, who was also a painter, had worked full time as a Fitter and Turner but unfortuately died at the age of 59. Reaching 60 had significance for Terry, he felt it was now or never to dedicate more time to painting.
Terry has always grappled with the questions of ‘what is an artist?’ And ‘why do I want to do this?’ and has used the past 18 months in his attic studio as an intense experimentation period to test out these questions using various techniques and themes of interest.
What has emerged for Terry is a portraiture series of the people around him – from his family, friends and the people he has met through the various trades that he has worked over this life.
Terry wants to be close to his subjects, to understand and empathise with them. Terry described this time as ‘the autumn of his life’ and he is most concerned with the things that matter to him most.
Using photographs taken over years where the subject is at their most comfortable and not posing for the camera, Terry paints not rushed by the pressure of someone sitting in the same room. Instead, he studies the photograph, spends time with it. He often plays music that either reflects his mood or captures the person in the photogragh, including recently where he listened to country music (his Dad was an avid country fan) and when painting his father he commented it felt like he ‘spent the day with dad again’.
This residency at GROW is part of a year-long series of pop-up residencies and cultural events called #DIYRESIDENCIES working with partners to experiment and explore the building, its surroundings, heritage and looks to the future in terms of sustainability, inclusion, food and drink, grassroots arts, music and culture. The top floors have been converted into studios, which are now creative home to painters, audio artists, printmakers, installation and socially engaged artists.