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Wrestling with Success – Interview with artist Peter Lloyd

Acclaimed artist and long-term Winchester resident Peter Lloyd, shares his love for the city and what makes it so special.

“Winchester is a city that feels like a village – it’s so welcoming.

“I’ve lived here since 1993, and even now whenever I walk around the city I still feels like I’m on holiday.”

Peter Lloyd ArtistThe city has been your home since leaving the Royal College of Art in London and it is here that you have built your reputation as an artist with an eye for the unusual.

Your colourful screen prints depicting masked Mexican wrestlers were accepted by Bond Street gallery, Agnews and have been collected by the likes of David Bowie, Holly Johnson and the comedian Vic Reeves.

And you count Sir Peter Blake – the pop artist best known for creating the cover artwork for Beatles album Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band – as a personal friend.

What is it like having such a celebrity following?

“I have been incredibly lucky.

“One day I had a phone call from Vic Reeves, who also went to art school. He had an exhibition of work following a show I had and he asked if we could swap some work. I’m really proud of that one,” said Peter, who also teaches at Solent University and later this year he will become the Director of Art, Design and Fashion.

 

While he has always been artistic, when Peter left school in Liverpool he took up an apprenticeship as a sheet metal worker in the docks.

Peter Lloyd ArtistTell us about the early days …

“ I was working in the docks but I still hung around with a crowd of students who were studying English, Politics and Philosophy. I started creating illustrations to go with their work and realised I could make images with meaning and function.

“I also realised that you could make a career out of art and earn a living too. I come from a working class up-bringing, I’ve been programmed to always be active and putting a meal on the table – and that has transferred to the world of art,” explained Peter.

 

You were accepted to study Fine Art at Winchester School of Art but soon switched to the print-making course. A two year MA course at the Royal College of Art followed and it was while you were there that you landed a BA travel scholarship that took you to Mexico.

Can you tell us what happened?

“I’ve always been interested in folk traditions and masks. There is an amazing festival in Korea so I was keen to go there but the night before my application was due, I realised BA didn’t fly there.

“I had to re-think my plans and instead I wrote a piece from the heart about the Day of the Dead festival in Mexico,” he said.

 

The judges were suitably impressed and your scholarship and allowed you to spend a month in Mexico – and that was where you discovered the nation’s love of wrestling. What impact has that had on your art?

“Up until I went to Mexico I had been producing moody, atmospheric prints.

“But having experienced this poor but vibrant city, my palette changed and became bright coloured and happy,” explained Peter.

 

We understand you are a bit of a foodie Peter and that you are delighted that so many celebrity chefs have decided to open restaurants in the city. Where would you recommend?

“Winchester has become a real food destination.

“My favourite restaurant is the Chesil Rectory – it feels like a Michelin experience but not at those prices.

“The head chef Damo is from Manchester and such a creative guy.

“If you are looking for a great pub you can’t do better than the Black Boy – whenever I have visitors from abroad I take them there.

“And the Discovery Centre is well worth a visit too. It’s a lot more than just a place to borrow books, the exhibitions are really good,” he said.

 

Read interviews from others that live in the local area.