Peter Smith’s delectable artworks have whetted the appetites of collectors far and wide. His humorous Impossimal creations have cemented his reputation as one of the UK’s most treasured artists.
History and Background
At the age of nine, Peter bought his first set of watercolour paints and brushes, which he took everywhere with him. But when he started secondary school and was teased for his hobby, he put down his paintbrushes and didn’t return for many years.
After graduating from university, Peter worked as a surveyor, computer programmer and graphic designer. In 2000, his wife Jayne persuaded him to pick up his paintbrushes once more, and over the next decade, his beloved Impossimals began to take shape.
Ideas and Inspirations
Peter’s endless imagination is fuelled by artists such as Salvador Dali and Will Bullas, whose surreal characters and sense of humour bring life to their creations.
Drawing inspiration from everyday life, he takes ideas from the people he meets and the feelings he experiences. At the end of each day, he has hundreds of images fighting for the chance to be painted. Often, he is able to fill his sketchbook from cover to cover within hours.
Alongside his wife, Peter has created the immensely popular ‘Impossimal’ series of instantly recognisable striped characters in a variety of hilarious situations.
Peter says: “We are still amazed by the little corners we discover to paint and the lengths we’ll go to in our quest to create the perfect collection.”
The couple’s home is the perfect studio for their eccentric art. Most days, they take high tea in their Victorian Alice in Wonderland dining room, while further quirks include an eight-foot mirror and a two-foot teapot.
From Palette to Picture
For their latest collection – The Great British Impossimal – Showstoppers – the couple compiled a pantry full of research material. Collecting “anything cakey-bakey, full of cream, jam-laden or biscuity”, they skilfully blended it into Impossimal scenes using clay, cardboard, wire and balsa wood. These were illuminated and adjusted before the painting was finally composed.
“For the cakes, we used traditional recipes and a few Delia Smith must-bakes,” Peter says. “For the biscuits, we cheated and bought family packs. We are both now professional cake-a-holics!”