Flamingos in France

We have recently had a short break, visiting family in France. While there I spotted this stunning work of art on a house in Argenton-sur-Creuse.

I felt the flamingos were reminiscent of my own oil on board painting 'The Dance' which is one of seven pieces I have on show at Broomhill Art & Sculpture Gardens here in North Devon until the end of July (click here for more).

It looks stunning, and I love the fact that someone had the conviction to paint it on their house - and that it overlooked the most beautiful river. On the opposite river bank there is a big cathedral, it's spire dominating the skyline.

Proust mentions church spires in his novel 'In search of lost time', which is a major influence on my work. I spent many years living and working in France and feel really at home there. Many of the vintage objects I use in my assemblage and taxidermy boxes were collected at markets there.



Paul Broomfield - Figures, Flamingos & Fish

Medium: Oil on Board

My work has always been predominantly inspired by nature but I also frequently make reference to the Proustian concept of involuntary memory.

I’ve always been fascinated by and collected tribal art figures. Depicted in these paintings are fertility figures from the late 19th and early 20th Centuries from the Dogon, Fang Gabon, Sepic River and Baoulé tribes. Carved by hand with very basic tools over a century ago or more, I feel that they conjure memories for me of their makers, their owners and keepers throughout their history. Often carved to represent the souls and spirits of the dead, those souls, travel forward through time touching those in whose possession they are.

Several pieces from my collections have seemed to follow me. Perhaps I had missed buying them at one point only for them to turn up again at a later date at a different auction or fair. Perhaps they were made by people that were associated with me in a past life and trigger a memory and a feeling of connection to and previous knowledge of those objects.

The vintage 60s/70s Gollies, whilst controversial to some, simply trigger the recollection of the safety and comfort of childhood - safe in the sanctuary created for me by my parents.

I have a slight obsession with flamingos - the way they move - they remind me of the curvaceousness of the female form and yet are phallic too in the shape of their necks and heads. For me they represent love and fertility and so sit well alongside the tribal fertility figures.

The fish in the paintings are frozen - my message in these depictions is that we’re destroying what feeds and sustains us along with the native cultures who revered, respected and lived with nature rather than plundering it for their own financial gain.

This body of work will be on display at Broomhill Art Hotel in North Devon from April 1st 2018 to the end of July.

Paul Broomfield 2018

Taking time to paint

I've taken a step back from my taxidermy art for a little while to indulge my passion for painting. There's something very cathartic about working with oil on board, primal even.

The first work shown below is 'Dogon and the flamingo' (139cm x 86cm), and is inspired by the carvings of the African tribe the Dogon - incredible art which is now highly collectible. The ancestral Nommo figure is a running motif in many of these tribal carvings.


'Via con dias' (139cm x 86cm) reflects on the special time I spend in the ocean - I love kayaking, fishing, surfing and wandering the shoreline looking for flotsam and jetsam to use in my taxidermy and assemblage boxes. See below for this painting.


The last two in this series are both titled 'Owl and the blue monkey' (139cm x 86cm). Proust's concept of 'the search for lost time' and linking memories to objects is the main driving force behind all of my art. In the painting below I'm examining where the natural world and spirit world cross over.


Broomhill at 20, and the 2017 National Sculpture Prize

Broomhill Art Hotel just outside Barnstaple have been incredibly supportive of my work over the last few years, and 2017 marks their 20th anniversary - congratulations! They will be having various special events and offers throughout the year.

They are exhibiting my taxidermy assemblage art and paintings in their gallery. As well as selling work through them, I've created a couple of commissions for new clients which has been a great experience.

2017 also sees entries open for the acclaimed National Sculpture Prize, which takes place every year in the venue's wonderful, rambling gardens. We're so lucky to have this here in North Devon - not only as an event, but as a year round art gallery and top class hotel/restaurant right on our doorstep.




Parrot After Dürer - tribute to an icon

Albrecht Dürer was a painter, printmaker and theorist from Germany (1471 - 1528). While his watercolours mark him as one of the first European landscape artists, he became renowned for his woodcuts that had a darker edge and took art in a new direction.

Parrot - After Dürer is a hand-made wooden assemblage box (480w x 670h x 250d mm), featuring vintage taxidermy parrot wing and head, antique bottles, antiqued glass, gesso, paper, metal and stone.

This piece is inspired by Dürer's stunning 'Wing of a Roller' watercolour and gouache painting from 1512, which exhibits vibrant colour & detail of a European blue-bellied roller's wing. The original is held by the Albertina Museum, Vienna.

New film documents work of Paul Broomfield taxidermy & assemblage artist

I'm delighted to release today the first short film by award-winning documentary maker Mikey Corker that follows my work as a taxidermy and assemblage artist.

The film is available to watch and share on both Vimeo and YouTube, and it examines where I find inspiration for my work, and why I started out on this creative journey. The featured piece towards the end of the film is a new work 'Conscious while the world sleeps', which was created as a tribute to one of my favourite paintings by Mary Krishna.

North Devon based filmmaker Mikey Corker has won awards for his work at the prestigious Waimea Ocean Film Festival in Hawaii for a documentary about the British big wave surfer Andrew Cotton, and from the National Trust at the annual London Surf Film Festival.

Outsider art - Ian Sherman

One of my good friends and fellow artist is Ian Sherman - he gave a ground-breaking talk at the Royal Academy of Arts on 'outsider art', the first time this revered body has looked at this area of the art world. The panel in London was chaired by the Editor of Raw Vision magazine John Maizels, and featured Thomas Roeske, Director of the Prinzhorn Collection; Marc Steene, Director of Pallant House Gallery and Founder of Outside In; Jane England, Director of England & Co Gallery and Ian Sherman, an artist associated with the 'Outside In' project. The point of bringing them together was to consider the inclusion of Outsider Art in the commercial art market and the impact this has on artists, collectors and collections.

As a taxidermy & assemblage artist and painter, I consider myself to be an outsider artist because other than my apprenticeships & mentoring, I didn't have any formal training after I left school. Ian himself prefers to call himself an 'idiosyncratic' artist because his work is often split between two or more styles. I'm proud to have a few of Ian's assemblage pieces in my own art collection (see the gallery below).

He lives and breaths his work, and is massively prolific - with stunning oil on board pieces sitting alongside his quirky and intricate assemblage and sculptural work (like me often using found objects). His creations have been widely documented and exhibited by Pallant House gallery in Chichester.

Ian is a great inspiration to me, and I urge you to check out his work and support those of us who are creating art on the outside of an inside world. A belated happy new year to everyone on my team, family, friends and supporters.