Bath Open Art Prize Judges: Richard Twose and David Hyde

Anna Kot in conversation with Richard Twose

2nd prize winner of the BP Portrait Prize 2014, Richard is one of the judges at this year’s Bath Open Art Prize.

AK: I understand you started as a jeweller and began painting only about 12 years ago?

RT:  Yes. I started painting while teaching at St. Brendan’s, initially so I could teach it! I quickly discovered the pleasure it can provide and the sense of an open-ended journey. Now I’m in the very fortunate position of being able to paint full time! Since the BP Prize I’ve had a number of commissions …

AK: And having commissions means you are also free to explore some of your own projects?

RT: That’s right. I have two solo shows scheduled for 2016 and am currently immersed in a series centred around Gifford’s Circus (at the moment called  “Principles of Flight”). This is reintroducing my interest in mythology, which was evident in my jewellery, as it makes reference to Icarus and also Sisyphus. My interest in balancing space with movement is very evident in this series. I always try and push things off centre but then carry on working on a piece until there is an overall sense of equilibrium.

AK: And your work also contains elements of both the definite and the undefined?

RT: I like to play with the balance between the real and the abstract. I believe an image needs to challenge the viewer to make sense of what they are looking at, to make them think further.

AK: And the importance of creativity for a thriving city?

RT: Bath has a great artistic heritage but sometimes, I feel, it needs its assumptions challenged: A thriving city treasures and empowers its independent creatives – freeing up space and time in the heart of the city to build an environment alive with a sense of possibility.


Anna Kot in Conversation with David Hyde

David Hyde is one of the judges of this year’s Bath Open Art Prize

AK: You’re currently Deputy Head of Art and Design at Bath College – how long have you been teaching?

DH: I’ve been teaching at Bath College for about 22 years having previously taught in a secondary school. Before that, I worked in theatre. After my Fine Art Degree, I studied Theatre Design at the Old Vic and then worked in props in Liverpool and Manchester. Although I enjoyed this work, it was somewhat insecure and knowing that I worked well with people, I decided to train as a teacher.

AK: And do you have any regrets…?

DH: No. I enjoy working with students helping them to discover their own voice and what is innate within them, their interests and motivation and what materials and approaches suit them best. Working in Art and Design is a way of life and I still gain a great deal from working with students - every year is different. I find that education in the arts is a great leveller.

AK: And why do you think Creativity is important for a thriving city?

DH: Partly because it’s a way of bringing communities together, but also because it allows individuals  (and communities) to express themselves. I would like to see more art in Bath that is outside of the gallery sector. The FaB festival contributes a great deal to presenting this kind of visual art, but there needs to be more throughout the year: Art that challenges and is outside the conventional system.