From the Studio of…Showdown Winner, Stephen Thorpe

Congratulations to Stephen Thorpe, Winner of the Saatchi Online Places & Spaces Showdown competition (Fall ’12). Take a peek inside his studio, check out his sketchbook, and best of all learn what inspires him.

Favorite material to work with?
Canvas, masking tape, and expanding foam.

What themes do you pursue?
Isolation and paranoia.

How many years as an artist?

Where is your studio?
I’m based at Summerhall in Edinburgh.

Succulents or Cigarettes?
One after the other in that order.

View Stephen’s portfolio

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
‘Don’t get a job.’

Prefer to work with music or in silence?
Definitely in silence

What could you not do without?
My wife

Day job?
Assistant Curator at Summerhall

If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?
Anything by Francis Bacon

Art School or Self-taught?
Everyone is a self-taught artist.

See Stephen’s artwork

How cleanly do you work?
Dirty studio, clean work.

Were you popular in high school?
Not really. I have always had two or three very close friends; I think that is all you need.

Oil or acrylic?
Only ever oil

Figurative or abstract?

Representational or Surreal?

Is painting dead?
Absolutely not; perhaps slightly overlooked for a period of time, but it’s back.

What do you wear while you paint?
The same jeans and shirt I have done for the last four years, which have never been washed in that time.

See more of Stephen’s work here including his winning Places & Spaces Saatchi Online Showdown submission, False Histories and Confusion in Time 1886.


  1. Lisa Elley says:

    Love your work! and your studio and the fact that you haven’t washed your painting clothes in 4 years, now that’s dedication!

  2. Allison says:

    I think you’re the best looking artist I’ve ever seen!

    Work’s not bad either….

  3. Jacklyn says:

    Very impressive. I am lucky to have a flower pot done and signed by you!! I am counting thhe days till I get to see you, and my daughter. Best of luck on your show. DON”T ” BACK OFF!!!”

  4. Ingrid says:

    ‘The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery.’ Francis Bacon.

    And you do this exquisitely. All the best Stephen and please never stop.

  5. Congratulation Stephen, amazing work, hope I get to meet you one day maybe at the Saatchi Gallery?

  6. joyce Arnold says:

    Way to go we are so proud of you. But we realize u are a worker and we like that. You would not want me in your studio I would b dusting etc. but continue to keep up the good work. Can’t wait to c u and Allison. b safe. Your future gram and gramp inlaws.

  7. Hermit says:

    I would’ve been really shocked if your studio was neat and tidy! But I understand the organised chaos of it :)

  8. Dave smith. says:

    Just had a view of your splendid creations and the piece which sticks out for me is “He is Here”,because this work of art reminds me of Da Vincis perspective study for the background of the “Adoration of the Magi”.I think Da Vincis studys were in fact finished pieces because adding anything else to it would not justify the wonderful drawing.I can see your fondness in Bacon through your great perspectives which are nice and enclosed but yet full of space.

  9. AndrewBarton says:

    This guy seems like the real deal. An artist dedicated to his profession. He does solid, substantial work to boot.

  10. susana says:

    Fantastic and outstanding!!. I hope to see you soon at the Tate.

  11. Bear says:


  12. Stephen,

    Keep on keeping on! Have you ever read Eccentric Spaces by
    Robert Harbison? I think you might enjoy!

  13. Chaeeun Lim says:

    I love your works all. Now I major in fine art. I started painting when I was in kindergarden, so it’s passed almost about 14 years since then.
    I sometimes think that what if I didn’t learn about art or wasn’t at art school, how looks like my works would now? I love your talent for art. really.


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