Born in Rochdale in 1969, Scott Tetlow developed a passion for art as a young boy. During his late teens Scott spent his free time sketching punks and designing album covers. It was this body of work that earned him a place at Cheltenham University, where he gained his fine art degree.
In 2002, his much-loved studio burnt to the ground and he lost everything. Unable to continue both practically and emotionally, Scott threw himself into teaching, believing that his art career was now just part of his past.
Later in 2011, Scott Tetlow moved with his family to Verona and, ironically, moved into an apartment directly above an art shop. Feeling inspired to pick up his brushes once again, he began to draw the stunning architecture surrounding him. With his passion rekindled, Scott returned to England and built a studio in his garden. He hasn’t stopped painting since.
Scott Tetlow developed the basis of his style from calligraphy. As he notes, “whilst living in Taiwan, I studied calligraphy and discovered that this beautiful form is valued as high art. The art of calligraphy is used to express the inner beauty of the soul and spirit. Chinese calligraphy focusses on two types of beauty: the obvious aesthetics and, the hidden beauty; the soul and life of a figure. Often, Chinese painters will say they are writing a painting and this concept has influenced my work heavily over the years. I want my works to tell their own story, for the viewer to read their energy.”
Each of Scott’s drawings is almost a manifestation of the frame of mind he is in at the time of creation. Calling upon the words of Henry Ward Beecher, “every artist dips his brush in his own soul and paints his own nature into his pictures”.
The artist recalls, “somewhere along my path, I became engrossed in the need to convey movement, to create the illusion of life. Knowing how to create something in the line, how to find the light and the life in a figure is considerably harder than the layering, rendering and re-rendering I do when I am painting with oils.
I have to learn and understand the lines before I can make them work. It has taken years of practice, of feeling like I’m walking through a maze; making mistakes, going down the wrong road and learning whether to turn left or right. I’ve had to practice and practice to be able to create a piece in one go, it’s almost like doing it in one breath.
Each time I pick up my tools, I am running out onto a tightrope, I can’t stop. I have to keep going to get to the other side. There is no time to question myself or correct mistakes because I have to get the marks down with confidence. I don’t get a second chance. I can’t rework it; every mark has to flow out of me to give the figure movement. If I haven’t studied the lines, if I don’t fully understand them the drawing just won’t work.
Every single line on each of my drawings is inspired by a living object, the result being that every line has the energy of a living thing.”