12.30.19 Press

Stephen Thorpe featured in Artomity Magazine

By Valencia Tong

 

 

“My philosophy has always been, if you want to learn how to paint, then paint,” says SCAD professor Stephen Thorpe. “It’s not as flippant as it may sound.” He raises his eyebrow as he gestures towards an art work nearby. “Paint is a fluid material which acts in a variety of ways under a variety of conditions, and only through rigorous practice can you understand the nuance and subtle elements to handling paint.”

In Professor Thorpe’s personal work, objects defying gravity float in patterned interiors that mysteriously connect to surreal exterior spaces, creating an illusion of three-dimensionality on the flat canvas surface. The rich cultural and art-historical references embedded within his paintings reflect Thorpe’s values of critical engagement and research, which he actively instils in his students at SCAD, who come from many different cultures and backgrounds, making for an equally diverse range of ideas and references.

Spending time inside and outside the studio, at museums and exhibitions, his students keep meticulous sketchbooks where they draw and document their ideas and thoughts.The art educator, born in Margate in the UK, graduated from Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen and received a master’s degree at the Royal College of Art, where he studied painting. Having exhibited widely across Europe, he moved to Hong Kong in 2018. With access to numerous international galleries and art fairs in Asia, Thorpe leads field trips to see gallery shows and specific artists he and his students have discussed in class, to give them a vision of what they can achieve as artists, and of the art ecosystem in Hong Kong. It is with this down-to-earth approach that he hopes to provide his students with a glimpse of the business side of being an artist: where and how work is sold and how artists work with galleries and gallerists.

He is also immensely proud when his students win prizes or exhibit in galleries; the highlight of his teaching career was when one of his junior students was invited to show work at a local branch of an international gallery in Hong Kong and give an artist talk. Recently a group of his students organised, arranged, curated and marketed an exhibition of their own as part of the syllabus. From the packed venue to the press coverage of the exhibition online and in local media, the exhibition was a huge success, he says.

 

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