Interview with PJ Crook RWA

RWA Academician PJ Crook presents Metamorphoses, a new set of paintings and installations now exhibitng in the Academicians' Gallery at RWA.

We asked PJ Crook a set of thought-provoking questions to learn more about her life and work.


RWA: What are you working on at the moment?

PJC: A large four part commission for an Australian collector based on the four seasons.

RWA: Where do you find inspiration?

PJC: Every day brings new inspiration or reason for comment in a world both beautiful and terrifying. 

RWA: What does the RWA mean to you?

PJC: I have a great affection for the RWA. Early in my career I was awarded First Prize at the Annual exhibition and became a Academician four years later. I also have fond memories of the Academicians' Gallery in which my exhibition is shown in, as it was where the Council used to meet when I was part it.   

RWA: What would be your dream project?

PJC: I think I'm living it, having spent my whole working life as an artist. Including when the Morohashi Museum of Modern Art, Japan bought the whole of my 1995 Paris exhibition. Or the commissions that took me to both Japan and Saudi Arabia to study the people and cultures for a series of fifteen large canvases. More locally, creating GloCorama, the four and a half metre long commission I painted full of life size figures for Gloucestershire College. Or the joy of working with Robert Fripp and King Crimson, creating paintings for them to use on album covers.

RWA: Who is your hero?

PJC: I have many but a male and female who spring to mind are Antoni Gaudi the Catalan artist/architect, for his inventive and unique vision in creating the most exquisitely divine Sagrada Familia in Barcelona to which he dedicated his life. And Artemesia Gentileschi for creating the most powerful and memorable images, almost unheard of for a woman in her time. 

RWA: What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

PJC: I often refer to Bob Dylan’s line “just keep on keeping on".

RWA: If you weren't’t an artist, what would you be?

PJC: I might have been a medic, an actress or a writer.

RWA: If you could own any piece of artwork which would it be?

PJC: The Gipsoteca Bartolini in the Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence, a hall full of plaster casts, rows of busts rising one above the other on shelves and whole bodies crowded across the floor. I love the idea that Bartoloni was a professor at the Accademia and taught generations of students.

RWA: What other jobs have you done?

PJC: I have spent my whole life working as a professional artist. The only ‘real’ job I’ve had was shortly after graduating where I set up a silk screen printing department so that the firm who had purchased a couple of my designs could print them. It lasted about a year.

RWA: How do you see the future of RWA?

PJC: Some of the finest galleries in the South West and of historic significance both regionally and nationally, I feel the RWA has great potential to become an increasingly important exhibition venue and hope that it will continue to nurture and encourage artists both young and old, to create art that will stimulate, move, educate, and inspire audiences to enjoy and question the world around them.

Metamorphoses runs from 3 October - 5 November 2017 and entry is free.