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Interview with Lyle Pettit

Dive into the vibrant world of contemporary art as we embark on a captivating journey with an artist whose creative odyssey has been coloured by experiences, evolution, and a deep passion for the Pop Art movement.

In this interview, we have the privilege of delving into the life and mind Lyle Pettit whose trajectory has been anything but conventional. From a foundation built during school days to a transformative gap year and the fusion of modern technology with classic techniques, her narrative is a testament to the power of exploration and artistic growth.

Join us as we unravel the layers of inspiration, innovation, and dedication that have led Lyle Pettit to the creation of a unique and striking body of work.

Lyle Pettitt - Fed up
Lyle Pettitt – Fed up
Lyle Pettitt - Electric
Lyle Pettitt – Electric
Lyle Pettitt - Strike a Pose
Lyle Pettitt – Strike a Pose

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into art!

My journey into the world of art began during my school days when I had the privilege of studying art as a subject. The incredible art school environment and teachers fuelled my passion, making art my favourite subject. Following my high school graduation, I took a gap year and ventured to America, where I served as an au pair for an American family. Through their support, I secured a part-time position with a renowned interior designer known for their specialisation in faux finishes. Our work ranged from painting on fabrics and furniture to designs on floors and walls.

During this period, I also attended a part-time Portraiture in Mixed Media course at The Creole School Of Art, a time that significantly contributed to my growth as an artist. Life led me away from painting for a while as I returned to South Africa, delving into my career and putting art momentarily on hold.

Ten years later, I married and embraced motherhood. With my son turning two, I rekindled my artistic flame, starting to freelance as a commission artist. A fortunate opportunity with a major property developer kick-started my commission work, and I soon became known in this field. In my spare moments, I dabbled in screen printing, inspired by my admiration for the Andy Warhol era, a passion that remains with me to this day.

How would you describe the art you love creating?

I’d define my art as a very modern clean take of the Andy Warhol art era. My focus primarily revolves around portraying women, a subject that holds immense versatility and resonance. As a woman myself, it comes much more naturally. My artistic style thrives on mixed media.

When I initially ventured into pop art 16 years ago, I painted on canvas and then applied the screen layer just as Andy Warhol did. Presently, with the advent of technology, the process is a little less complicated. I embrace a variety of art mediums, as each contributes to the creative journey.  The thing that I most love about the Pop Art style is the clean bold use of colour and the way that the colours contrast against each other. It just makes such an impact on the work.

What influences your artistic vision and style?

My artistic vision is deeply swayed by colour, subject matter, and emotional resonance. I’m constantly observing people, envisioning how they can be transformed into pieces of pop art. However, not every person or pose aligns with the pop art style. It’s a definitive decision whether a subject matter will work or not. Selecting the right subject occupies a significant portion of my creative process. While I initially focused on famous individuals, I now predominantly paint women.

Are there any present-day artists whose creations resonate with you and that you find particularly compelling?

Banksy’s creations truly resonate with me and I find them particularly compelling.

Among the various materials you engage with, which one do you find the most fulfilling to work with, and what draws you to it?

Acrylic paint offers the advantage of rapid application due to its quick drying time, which surpasses that of oils. Moreover, acrylic paint provides versatility as various mediums can be incorporated to enhance thickness and texture within the artwork.

Can you walk us through your artistic process, starting from the initial spark of an idea to the actualisation of the finished artwork?

My journey commences with the search for the perfect subject, often a woman’s face or body. This exploration can span weeks as I strive to find the ideal inspiration. Once I’ve sketched my subject, I digitise the image and experiment with different colour combinations to achieve a bold and impactful statement. With colour playing a pivotal role in pop art, I then initiate the process of translating my vision onto paper.

Could you share some insights into your current creative endeavours and projects?

Currently, I’m engrossed in a series titled “Where have you gone?” I have already completed 2 pieces I am striving to have 4 in my series. It’s of woman’s faces but you only see half the face the rest has disappeared. This subject matter is me reflecting upon myself as an aging woman in this new beautified world we live in, where woman are constantly striving to be perfect and as we get older we disappear.

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