PIGHILLS, Joe: ‘My Art’

I think sometimes that these ‘ere big names they make so much to-do about, they keep lesser men out of the ring.

In a series of interviews during the 1970s, the local Telegraph & Argus journalist, John Hewitt, interviewed  Joseph (Joe) Pighills on his motivation to paint, and about the painting process.

 I paint off my feelings and say summat about what’s going on – more about what’s going on [than] about the subject itself  … I need quietness. I have got to get myself into a sort of contemplative mood while painting. A landscape picture is either made or marred within half an hour of starting, and if it takes more than two hours it’s bound to be dead


Pighills, Joseph; Far Enfield, Stanbury Moor; Bradford Museums and Galleries; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/far-enfield-stanbury-moor-23089

‘Far Enfield, Stanbury Moor’. Image: Bradford Museums and Galleries/Art UK

Joe rarely ventured beyond his home area to paint:

Like Constable, if I moved away from the scenes which were familiar to me, I would fall down. I couldn’t paint .

A lot of people have an idea about painting that you have to go to a spot and say to yourself, ‘That’s what I want’. I don’t think it works like that. It’s something about mental images; something to do with inspiration. You have more chance of making a work of art by the combination of impulses, rather than by taking a visual photograph.


Pighills, Joseph; Fieldside, Haworth Moor; Bradford Museums and Galleries; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/fieldside-haworth-moor-23162

‘Fieldside, Haworth Moor’. Image: Bradford Museums and Galleries/Art UK

After his art had become successful Joe was continually visited at his home at Oakworth by people wanting to meet him and look at his work. However, he was a regular attendee at his local Chapel and didn’t allow praise to change his outlook on life.

Pride comes before a fall. Some say it is one of the seven deadly sins. It is wrong to be proud, and anyway what have I to be proud of? I have painted and I have loved it. It’s lucky other people like it too.

Joe had firm ideas on abstract art, too!

I think most of the current ideas about painting will turn and flow in the opposite direction. I can’t see folk going on liking these outlandish ideas in painting. There are people that can’t stand abstracts. It’s outside of reason … It’s like love: outside of reason.

 (Source: Local History Collection, Bradford Libraries).

See also Joe Pighill’s full profile at http://www.notjusthockney.info/pighills-joseph-joe/

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