Toby Bridge


My creative impulse is a restlessness. I guess I used to be in the habit of prowling around streets, late at night and peer into skips or have an eye on what people put out by their bins, interesting and useful items I would lug home, often on my head if they were big and cumbersome. I have also spent a fair amount of time combing beaches at low tide, see what flotsam and jetsam was washed up. I still enjoy these pursuits on occasion, though having always added to my hoard I now have scarce room for bringing extra things, unless they have a feel of particular rarity and inspiration for me. This has always been a search for inspiration. I have dreamy and visionary ideas about what I want to do with all these elements.

As an artist I think I am essentially a Dabbler! I can scarcely settle down for any length of time at any one thing. I recently completed a commission for a friend of mine six years down the line from when he had requested it. I have promised commissions to other people who have been waiting even longer. Following the remit of only working on one at a time, I had this particular commission on my drawing board in my workspace all this time, reminding me every day that it needed sorting. Occasionally I would stare at it for a time and sweep the dust off.

All my fledgling projects seem to have a layer of dust on them. I often wish I could adopt some sort of structured work ethic. It makes me question why I want to be an artist anyway.

The answer may be to do with my restless exploring of my aesthetic senses. It's an awakening feeling, beginning with some point in nature, an elusive changeable regard for how our natural environment absorbs my attention. I often seek to simply record it, as source material, capture it in a freeze frame moment. But I feel more engaged with the patterns it traces. Like a forgotten language, I wish to play with it, lift it to the light, give it expression.

The fertile abundance of it reminds me. I seek in the commonplace for a vocabulary of motif, symbol, story telling progression of form.

I am excited by the mediums of craft, fashion, folk artefacts. The miscellaneous things which I would seek ways to bring together, to juxtapose, to weave with from light and shade. If they suggest a story then maybe a pilgrimage, or migration. Odd glimpses of how things came into being, and possibility of redemption. As a return to the whole.

As times continue to change I find myself trying to make sense of the heritage of my art practice. I collect books about different eras of art and culture which I have always found of interest. I am also often encouraged by freinds who are artists, who give me the benefit of their experience, and often donate high quality materials, in abundance, which they already have surplus of. Is the universe trying to tell us something? In my small studio work space, it all needs ordering, to find space for it, and then time to bring it out into the creative process. I sense there is such a super abundance that I would feel an affinity with working big, on a bold scale. But this would have to find its own niche, perhaps it might manifest as environmental art forms, or maybe something of theatrical nature. This all leads some where towards potential inspiration.

I think I am happiest working collaboratively. Sharing with other people makes you see fresh possibilities in ones own work. It's a gift to be able to reflect each other.

A pastel drawing of 4 figures in a lush green grass with a blue sky.