In the Studio with Theo Bardsley
“I’m not trying to change the world,” says Theo Bardsley, gesturing to the canvases hung and stacked around his studio, a small cube in East London with paint-splattered walls, plants and a battered green sofa, afternoon light filtering in through frosted glass. “I try to treat my work like a visual diary—my experiences and what I come into contact with.”
The world around the self-taught 26-year-old artist is a colourful blur of being young and having a laugh in London. Rendered naively in heavy brushstrokes, Bardsley captures his girlfriend - or an amalgamation of all of his girlfriends - “hungover and watching football on a Sunday; his sister and her boyfriend inside their new flat “she’s going to be so unhappy that I made her look like that,” and men playing pétanque on a summer holiday in France.
In the haze of memory, “each painting is a fragment,” he says. Friends, lovers, fried breakfasts and the dusty and wrinkled boozers of this corner of the capital. Bardsley’s paintings are vibrant and louche, you want to climb in and stay and until closing.
“I’m trying to take things slowly and develop,” he says, “I want to really feel like the time is right before I put on a solo show. I hope people can see themselves in some of the work. I’m just not trying to overthink it too much at the moment.”
“Anyway, does anyone fancy a pint?”