The Artist At Work

It is rare that we are permitted access to the artist's realm to witness them at work, particularly in this day and age when biographical detail is deemed unfashionable and irrelevant by many modern artists and critics. Yet there is an undeniable and enduring fascination with the artist as well as the art they produce. The mystery that surrounds the creative process is at the core of this fascination, and it is the idea of creative genius that endows the artist's portrait with particular significance.

When we experience the joy of a great work of art, whether it be a piece of music, a painting, a great piece of literature, we are often moved to ask, How did this come about? Where did it come from? What great leap provoked the act of creation that resulted in this thing of beauty? These photographs are an attempt to answer some of these questions.

Some might say that Newcomb's slick photographic style idealises these artists, that they are just 'ordinary' people after all. But are they? The fact is, artists are idealised, even idolised in our society, and I for one think it is no less than what these modern culture heroes deserve. Newcomb's portraits give us clues to the reality of what it is to be creative. And while the artist's actions in these photographs may seem mundane, be assured that their brains are full of genius. Long may they continue to bring joy to our world.

Hugh Toddington-Smith, Critic and Author