Ep 053 Featured Image Podcast

How to Embrace Our Artlife – Edward Povey – Ep 53

October 26, 2022


At the beginning of making something, the artist is the fixed, central point that everything is organized around. It seems it can’t be any other way. You are a singular artist doing something, chasing something to make something new. Often it falls flat but sometimes, a few sneak through. A couple of them are good. Maybe even for a short time, great.

Interestingly, good art always seems to have a bit more authenticity. It’s yours, but also theirs as well. In other words, the authenticity of the human experience seems to be the currency we all embrace. We all can relate to it. As the artist, we begin thinking the work is all about us. How could it be otherwise? Yet somehow, in the process of making, sharing, and showing our work, it becomes clear that others can find themselves in our art too. It no longer becomes solely about you. It is out of your hands and goes off into the world without even looking back.

Of course, this is rarely the case for most art made. First, it has to be exceptionally authentic. It has to be poignant and stirring. It has to be unforgettable. Edward Povey, a British painter whose work can loosely be described as emotional realism, happens to be all three. Join me now for an incredibly candid, moving, and thoughtful conversation. Hopefully, it will be for you what it was for me: Unforgettable.

Listen if you are interested in…

  • Edward’s origin story and how it informs his work [3:11]
  • Creating community-minded art and unpacking inadequacy [13:16]
  • Diving into Edward’s process and auditing an ordinary life  [17:04]
  • Pythagoras, the armature of the rectangle, and mathematical creativity [34:05]
  • Embracing uncertainty with honest inquiry [45:05]

Looking beneath the surface

Edward Povey grew up in a constant state of stress and fear for his very life. Survival was a skill he needed to learn as he navigated a tumultuous home environment. Yet when asked about it, he wouldn’t say that his childhood was a bad one. Or a good one for that matter. For Edward, our upbringings are just subject matter. He’s not negating the trauma we can experience from life’s challenges but rather uses these experiences in his work to convey universal ideas. He wants to go beneath the polished masks we tend to put on as we walk out our front doors and reveal the shadows just beneath our smiles. We all have pain. We all struggle. We’re all figuring out what it means to be human, and Edward’s work is a masterclass no one should ignore.

Universally human

One of the reasons Edward’s work feels so universally relatable is that authenticity is at the core of everything he does. He believes that if you get really honest with yourself and go to the heart of your own human experience, it won’t be far from most other people. Though we are all unique beings, we’re all similar because we all share the human experience. We know heartache, disappointment, and failure as much as love, joy, and success. Edward’s work is steeped in his individual experience, yet he knows that once the work leaves his hands, his life becomes irrelevant, and so does his personal interpretation of his creation. He wants the viewer to bring their entire entourage of experiences and create an interpretation that means something to them. Even though people may talk about what Edward brings to his art, ultimately, it’s about all of us.

A picture is worth a thousand pages

Every artist has a different process for bringing their art to life. Sure, there’s some practical overlap, but when we dig into the whys behind the way different artists work, we get to see a unique and beautiful expression of creativity every single time. Like many artists, Edward’s process starts on paper. However, Edward isn’t drawing or sketching. He’s writing! Edward’s studio diary is 1000s of pages filled with concepts and ideas that may take years to fully mature. He loves fleshing out thoughts in this manner because words are immediate, whereas the substance of an idea can get lost in the hours it takes to draw it. 

As a testament to his commitment to authenticity, nothing exists on Edward’s canvas that is not in the real world. I was shocked to learn that if his next scene requires a chair that would otherwise need to be imagined, he will have it created physically and paint it from reference. Similarly, Edward uses actual models as inspiration for the people portrayed in his paintings. If he needs to convey a sense of anguish or betrayal, he will ask the models to draw from their personal experiences so he can capture it in his work. For more on Edward and his incredible art-making, listen to this episode and visit the links below!

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Edward Povey

  • Represented by Waterhouse & Dodd, 15 East 76th Street, NYC, USA, T: 212 717 9100, www.waterhousedodd.com
  • Visit Edward’s website
  • Follow Edward on Instagram
  •  Edward will be showing at Art Miami with Waterhouse & Dodd, booth AM520
  • Edward is on exhibition with GALERIE BENJAMIN ECK, Munich, Germany, Munich, in the ART BUNKER from the 3rd of October to the 30th November 2022
  • A future solo exhibition is currently being organized with Waterhouse & Dodd, New York, scheduled for Fall 2023. Interested parties can request more info by calling the gallery on   1-212-717-9100 (USA)

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Nicholas Wilton

Hi! I’m
Nicholas Wilton
the founder of Art2Life.

With over 20 years experience as a working artist and educator, I’ve developed a systematic approach that brings authenticity, spontaneity and joy back into the creative process.

Join me and artists from all over the world in our Free Art2Life Artists Facebook Group or learn more here about Art2Life.

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