Ele Pack in her Brighton studio.
Favorite material to work with?
Paint. I do love working with paint. It’s such a sensory, sensual, sexy, expressive material to work with. I’ve also started using spray paint, which applies the paint in such a different way. I also love metallic surfaces due to their light absorbing and reflective qualities. I recently spent six months working with clay, which was also wonderful; it helped me to explore drawing and line in a new way. But I always return to paint. It has got me.
What themes do you pursue?
Expression, communication through the visual, beauty, harmony, and communication of emotions.
How many years as an artist?
I left art college in 1991, so a long time ago! And I have continued to paint off and on ever since. I keep trying to give it up, but it won’t let me. I’ve been painting full time for the last five years. I love it.
Where is your studio?
I work at the wonderful Studio 106 in Brighton, UK, alongside a group of very talented artists. I’m lucky to have a large space, with high ceilings and skylights. The downside is that it gets pretty cold in the winter, but the upside is that I get to listen to the seagulls tap dancing on our roof. We are ten minutes from the sea, which is fabulous in the summer.
Art school or self-taught?
I went to Loughborough art school in the UK. I had an excellent personal tutor, Colin Ardley, who introduced me to the beauty of Vuillard and Bonnard. My degree show was comprised of 20 paintings of my bedroom at the time. I guess I was painting emotional intimacy. And I think that is what I am still trying to achieve through my work.
Prefer to work with music or in silence?
Music every time. It helps me get into my own little world and get into a flow with the work. Radiohead is good, or a bit of folk. Or funk. Nina Simone is awesome and soulful. I also love listening to Marc Maron’s podcast of interviews with actors, comedians, and other creative people. At best, it’s candid, revealing, funny and insightful—all about human behavior.
What’s around the corner from your place?
Where can we find you outside of the studio?
Home, bed, with friends, napping, eating cake, by the sea. Not all at the same time.
If you couldn’t be an artist, what would you do?
Something where I could emotionally connect with people. And talk about the real stuff. Therapist? Mediator? Hostage negotiator…?
I am very lucky to be an artist full-time. This really is the most perfect job I could have.
Use anything other than paint?
Gold leaf, pencil, spray paint, collage, glitter—for the variety of textures and different sensibilities that can be achieved.
Is painting dead?
Not for me.
Oh I’ve got a wide decorators brush that I love to sweep over a painting, in one bold swoop, potentially damaging all that has been put down previously—OR creating something far more wonderful! Painting—it’s a high-risk venture!
Monet or Manet?
Monet. From an abstract color sensory enveloping in his world point of view. Luscious. I was delirious when I visited the Orangerie in Paris and saw the water lilies.