Sculptor Thomas J Price Wears the 'Teddy-Polo' Coat

Sculptor Thomas J Price Wears the 'Teddy-Polo' Coat

 

Boldly combining two icons of outerwear – the polo coat and the teddy coat – this classic double-breasted silhouette, cut from genuine Steiff teddy fabric, is truly the stuff dreams are made of. Renowned British sculptor Thomas J Price kindly modelled the coat for us, and we caught up with him about creativity in lockdown, studio clothes, and what he's working on now.

 

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Drake's: Firstly, how is the Teddy-Polo Coat treating you?

 

Thomas J Price: It’s been a real luxury to wear it. I think the structured cut balances out the more relaxed texture. I wore it for a long walk on my brother’s birthday on New Year’s Eve, which was a very cold day and it kept me comfortably warm, as well as attracting some admiring looks. I’ve also just been wearing it in my house as it’s so soft.

 

 

What do you usually wear for working?

 

I wear a mixture of styles in the studio.  I tend to cycle in, which means layering up. I try to wear clothes made from as much natural fibre as possible, especially wool as it is so good at regulating temperature. I either wear leather boots or shoes with rubber soles, or a pair of trainers. I try to keep things as simply and high quality as possible so that they last longer. I pretty much only wear black, using texture and fabric weight to create variety. The brown has made a nice change, yet still feels neutral.

Talk us through a typical day at the studio.

 

When I get in I go through my emails and notes from the previous day, trying to get up to speed with what needs to be done. I spend a lot of time communicating with various institutions and fabricators as well as my studio assistant, who does a great job keeping me and the many ideas on-track. I like to work on several projects and pieces at the same time, and so will move between them as time allows. I always try and make notes before I leave the studio (often late in the evening) so that I can get straight back into things when I return.

 

 

How has lockdown been for you, creatively?

 

Lockdown itself has been very stressful – as I think it has been for pretty much everyone – because of the restrictions it has placed upon us, as well as all the other events that have happened, or been brought into focus, during it. Changing so many routines can be really draining in itself, but the lack of socialising, especially when spending so much time by myself in the studio, has been the hardest thing to adjust to (and I used to consider myself quite an introvert). However, I feel incredibly fortunate to have stayed busy with work throughout, and 2021 is looking to be even busier. I definitely feel optimistic and will try and carry through the understandings from all the lessons 2020 offered up.

Do you think we’re seeing something of a return to handwork and more traditional methods of making art?

 

I think that access to deeper knowledge about production is increasing and that has possibly led to a greater appreciation for things that are of higher quality and often involve more handwork, as well as slower processes that can allow for increased control and expression. I can remember a similar thing happening in 2006, so perhaps it never went away? I’ve always been incredibly interested in new technologies and materials. Finding ways to incorporate them into understandings of traditional materials and how they can be used in a contemporary context to create meaning.

What are you working on currently?

 

I’m working on a new commission in Hackney to celebrate the Windrush Generation and their contribution to the UK, as well as their legacy here, in terms of people and culture. It will consist of two large bronze figures created from photographs, scans, and interviews with local Hackney residents linked to Windrush, as well as using the Windrush archive. The sculptures will be installed in the square outside the Hackney Town Hall, and so they have the potential to become an important feature of that area, and perhaps even something people will travel to see. There are lots of other projects on the go, with some exciting things coming up that I’m looking forward to being able to speak about publicly soon. 

 

 

Are there any exhibitions on the slate for next year?

 

I’ll be showing in a group show about the magic of gold with a really exciting mix of artists at Arken Museum, Denmark, a little later this year. Plus, I’m working on plans for something else that could be big, but I can’t announce that just yet, especially with planning so difficult due to the pandemic. 

And it’s great to still have work on outdoor exhibitions, particularly during the pandemic. “Reaching Out”, my 9ft sculpture of an imagined young woman, can be seen as part of The Line London sculpture walk throughout 2021.

Finally, do you have any cultural recommendations for our readers – any books, films, or music that you’ve enjoyed this year?

 

Lockdown has meant revisiting many of the films I watched during my art school days, from “Stalker” to “Mishima, A Life in Four Chapters”. I’ve also been listening to a lot of music, with Abdullah Ibrahim’s album “Senzo” bringing me absolute joy every time I listen to it. It’s also been fantastic to see my friends do so many amazing things during the pandemic. I’ve really been enjoying reading “Glitch Feminism: A Manifesto” by Legacy Russell, as well as the beautiful “Coveted: Art and Innovation in High Jewelry” by Melanie Grant.

 

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