What inspires you? | John Moores Painting Prize 2020

We asked our John Moores Painting Prize 2020 artists what inspires them to paint. From nail varnish to laughter here are some of their responses.

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Alan Fears

I am inspired by making images that connect with people or make people feel better. That makes me feel better.

Caroline Kent

The beauty of the natural world, combined with the creative process and its arts, inspires me. It’s the wonder of being alive and trying to understand it, by creating my own visual poetry and aesthetic. 

Caroline Streatfield

I’m inspired by people’s stories and painting these into life

Charles Williams

In a general sense, I love painting or writing that is hard to explain: not necessarily what it’s about, but why it happened; Mr. Oldham And His Guests (1745) by Joseph Highmore, for example, is an anomalous painting, given its era and its subject matter. Who are these old drunk blokes staring back at you? What are they doing in a painting?  
In a more specific way, there’s something electrically exciting about the matter of paint and how it coalesces into images and shapes. It goes from inert matter to something else, so quickly. And then, often, back to inert matter.  


Almost everything! Poetry, nature, life, ...and love!

Lindsey Bull

Inspiration comes from a distilled and reconfigured version of my life lived. I am inspired whilst watching live music, reading, being in nature, dancing.  

Liz Elton

Thinking about how to go on.  The compost bin. Conversations, books we talk about.  Being outside, staring at the earth and staring at the sky. 

Louise Bristow

It’s so difficult to answer that question! I see my work as a process of reprocessing, so anything that I encounter might become subject matter. But I do have particular areas of interest, which include Eastern European and Russian culture, the built environment, Modernist design and history, and politics (particularly 20th Century European history). 

Mandy Payne

Everything and anything but I am predominantly interested in what we miss, what we usually ignore, little things that are often under the radar, the mundane, and every day which when viewed from a different angle, or close up may take on a different nuance.  

Michelle Dovey

Shapes and forms.  Oak trees in particular. Considering the trunk and limbs are wood and still, they still hold so much animation in their forms, as they grow over time.  It’s the twisting turning oaks that really inspire me. During the lockdown, I’ve been cycling a lot around St David’s peninsular, there are not so many oaks, and the Scots pines have been drawing my attention. The way they stand out in the landscape. Like foreigners. ts more the silhouettes with them. Whilst cycling, the shapes of the road, the shapes of the ditches, the puddles, all inspire and inform. 

Noemi Conan

Nail varnish, roadside bars, driving at night, Polish folklore, Edgelands, and hauntology.

Pedro Di Sequeira

My work is inspired by personalities I encounter in life that seem like smoke to me, lacking substance and confidence. I am fascinated by the lavishness of a systematic society that misuses power and capital, and the exploitative humans that function as a vessel for evil through their self-serving actions devoid of empathy. I have witnessed a lot of systematic abuse, so my work is informed by my desire to transform a predatory dynamic into a more symbiotic one. 

Rebecca Harper

The theatre of life. Life internally, externally. Art. Conversation. Anything and everything has the potential to inspire thought, feeling, and image.

Sally Kindberg

How fundamentally funny people are (including myself), behaviors, advertising, stock images, how the world is framed for us, and how I experience it.