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Cartes de Visite I

mud on paper
136 x 103.5 cm

Notes on this work

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Tom Phillips, in his Peckham studio, talks to Canadian painter/photographer Bill Hurrell, November 2004.

BH. You’ve been using mud quite a lot recently. The studio here is full of jars containing various labelled muds, Dorset, Umbria, Texas, Preston…

TP. Toge and Amour is covered in Dorset mud. This was the first I used as the ground colour and make up for a production of The Winter’s Tale which David Freeman directed at The Globe.

My Peckham garden’s topsoil is an agreeable grey and beneath it is London clay, a vibrant ochre. I used the whole mud palette in making a mural for the church at New Longton near Preston, plus a black mud that exists nearby that the vicar, Martyn Rogers, found. Most of the range is used in some large music drawings and in Cartes de Visite.

BH. Which certainly look earthy in every sense. I assume we are not talking postcards here?

TP. No, but the prostitutes cards you find in telephone boxes which are the same shape and size. I collected them avidly when they were on plain paper of all colours and shades with naïve erotic drawings and crude printing in black. The series Cartes de Visite dreams of the hairy sexual encounters that the cards promise or threaten.

From the introduction to the catalogue for Tom Phillips New & Recent Work, Flowers East, 26th November - 24th December 2004