Artist Biography

South African born Neil Thomas Roberts, is now a Bristol based visual artist that mainly specialises in oils. His key themes generally revolve around the surreal directly influenced by the arcane, resonating with symbolic energy. Neil has been commonly described as an idea factory always twisting concepts into pictorial harmonies.
Neil has recently held a solo exhibition entitled "Arcanum" which showcased his "The Tarot of the Living". A progressive work he has been working on for some years now. This project depicts friends & personages that encompass the attributes of the Tarot, a pictorial divinatory system. This gloriously laborious process has taken him on many wonderfully significant & strange encounters. He strives to have this oil painted project completed in its entirety in the near future accompanied with a book aimed at successful publication. Neil generally works on couple projects at a time in order to keep his enthusiasms at a high level. He is currently working on a project entitled 'Inn the garden of forbidden Fruit' a collection erotic photography and oil works depicting a dark Eden.
Neil's exhibitions often have a vibrant energy emanating within them, they often include performance acts like Sword Swallowing, Tarot Card readings, musical acts and exotic body art. Neil enjoys working with other creative's from the various spheres of the arts and has co hosted a string of successful exhibitions in various galleries, and venues in Bristol, London, Northampton and South Africa. Neil is an "all round" creative and is also proficient in photography, graphics, gallery and performance curating. He also provides art classes amongst numerous other services.

Artist Statement

I am most inspired by dreams, music, obscure books and the human form (the female form in particular). I am an idea factory and love to be taken away by a tangent of creative impulses pushing me into realms of profound experiences. I have borrowed and in turn paid homage to the surrealist artists, occult writer 'Aleister' Crowley, erotic photographers like Roy Stewart and in particular painter/photographer Man Ray. My early forms of inspiration emanated from the Roger Dean album covers of my father's rock collection. I usually start a piece with a certain concept or vision in mind which usually branches into an avalanche of related ideas. I then try to filter the resulting raw material and create a certain core theme usually using digital software. I paint from a combination of life painting and photographs.

I choose to mainly paint with oils giving my work an almost classic feel to them. Painting with oils for me is tantamount to caressing my lover's thigh. Although I have a lot of respect and indulge in photography or digital creations often, I find viewers tend to respond to and appreciate my works more keenly in this way.
When people see my work I like them to experience both a mixture of nostalgia and déjà vu. In past exhibitions I generally like to invite the people, who feature in the works presented, as this generally creates a strange sense of familiarity in the room as usually most of them have never met before.
My "Tarot of the Living" ­­­- ­a project I have working on for some years - now depicts friends and personages that encompass the attributes of the Tarot which is a pictorial divinatory system. This gloriously laborious process has taken me on many wonderfully significant journeys and strange encounters which have often led me to the erotic genre. The tarot series had to be painted in illustrative yet realistic style to provide continuity.
I find it overwhelming to be entirely devoted to only one main project so my tarot has fortunately led me to a second piece of work entitled " 'Inn' the garden of forbidden fruit". This is a compilation of paintings and digitally retouched photography almost entirely erotic with hints of symbolism set in a dark 'Garden of Eden' resounding with a black sense of humour. This project features many of the beautiful women that have posed for my tarot but I felt needed to be depicted as an independent work because they are beautiful images in themselves.
My subjects generally resonate from a combination of occult visions, dreams, fantasies and interesting characters I have encountered in this jubilant yet mortal coil. My various works usually manifest in a symbolic and surreal style. I aim to transcend the realm of pure aesthetics and want my creations to serve an anabolic purpose.

Yours Faithfully

Neil Roberts

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