Veelgeprezen film- en tv-art director lanceert nieuwe carrière als schilder, met energieke solotentoonstelling in Londenseptember 18, 2020
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Esteemed film and television art director Monty Hitchcock (Pennyworth, Gorillas in the Mist) embarked on a brilliant secondary career as a painter in 2018 after being diagnosed with ADHD. And, after two cathartic years of self-exploration, he has produced a remarkable collection of large-scale paintings and limited edition prints, a selection of which are on display for the first time at The Union Club in Soho, London.
Although Monty Hitchcock’s A Happy Accident exhibition is at The Union Club, a private club, usually reserved for members only, non-members are welcome to view the show in the gallery upstairs. Visitors to the club will not only see the exhibition but will have the rare opportunity to step inside a private Soho town house, dating back to 1750s and are able to book lunch or dinner there too.
Monty Hitchcock has spent 35 years in the film industry as an Emmy award-nominated Art Director. He has worked with actors such as Bridget Fonda, Morgan Freeman, Bill Murray, Robert Redford, Sigourney Weaver and with top directors like Clint Eastwood, Sidney Pollack and Ridley Scott. From blockbuster films of the 1980s, Greystoke and Gorillas in the Mist to today’s popular TV series Pennyworth (starring Paloma Faith), Monty has created iconic film sets all over the world.
Monty’s paintings are a far cry from the meticulously planned designs for film and TV productions. His skills are in high demand, partly because he’s probably the only Art Director in the industry who still doesn’t use a computer. Everything is carefully drawn out by hand and he says his old-school method is actually more efficient. His large-scale, thought-provoking artworks can be viewed as a counterbalance to his working methods as an art director. Monty explains: “I have drawn ‘tightly’ all my working life. It’s been a great training in knowing how to draw and being able to imagine and visualise film sets but the ADHD diagnosis gave me a chance to express myself with no instruction manual (a film script). It was a beautiful cathartic moment because I recognised I was outside of the norm and my perspective was different. In its simplest way, ADHD broke down all the barriers that were always in front of me and opened a whole new unknown horizon. And so now, with each painting, I get to discover a new story. I never know how or when the story will come, or finish. The paintings tell me when they are complete and then I move on to the next.”
After his ADHD diagnosis, Monty says that “as things inside the kaleidoscope began to settle I felt a compulsion to paint. Over a period of three months I painted non-stop in a cramped shed, all night sometimes.” He created 350 paintings in that three month period, often working on several paintings at a time. The paintings, with a combination of styles abstract, figurative and expressionistic, show this intense physical working method. The energy shines through in the riot of curves, lines and forms, applied by the artist in richly layered paints.
It was difficult to select which of the 350 oil paintings to show in A Happy Accident. “Cave” the very first painting Monty created was an obvious choice as it represents the beginning of his art journey. It’s a glorious swirl of textures and colors. He says “Cave is a response to the very beginning of humans creating images 40,000 years ago. It is not intended to be a copy or even resemble the original cave paintings but it is the most personal, tangible image I have ever, or probably will ever, create; my journey started here, Cave is my own spiritual birthplace.”
In addition to Cave there are seven other large-scale canvases on show at The Union Club: Gate, Gusher, My Wife Sleeping, Reggae, We Bought a Dog, America and Who’s Pulling the Strings. The work might remind the viewer of Hunter S. Thompson illustrator Ralph Steadman or American Abstract Expressionist Jackson Pollock although Monty says that while aware of these artists, they certainly weren’t direct influences. And while Monty says he wouldn’t consider himself a “political” artist, America and Who’s Pulling the Strings could be seen to represent the artist’s satirical take on a world run by Trump and, ultimately, Putin. Also in the exhibition are five appealing abstract works portraying Monty’s dog. These smaller pieces are limited edition prints with hand-painting.
Five percent of sales proceeds from A Happy Accident are to go to the ADHD Foundation, whose patron, Rory Bremner, led to Monty’s own diagnosis. When he’s not painting in his studio, Monty is currently working with Paloma Faith on the second series of the television drama Pennyworth.
A Happy Accident: Monty Hitchcock, is at The Union Club, 50 Greek Street, Soho, London, until 30 October 2020. Open to members and non-members. For appointments to see the exhibition and for lunch and dinner bookings, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org