^ Peter Doyle, studio view. Photo: OTP.

OTP studio visits: Peter Doyle


Additional photography: Babajide Tikare ( @tikas97 

An interview with the painter in their East London studio.

Graffiti, working in Cuba and studios with no windows.

Following a period living and working in Berlin as an illustrator and gallery assistant, Peter Doyle returned to the UK in 2016 to paint full-time. Instead of attending art school Doyle set up a studio in a friend's garage and has been developing a coarse and unflinching style of naive figuration ever since.


Recent exhibitions include: Atelier Maser (Dublin) and Fumbally Exchange (Dublin).

The following interview was recorded ahead of the artist's debut London solo show scheduled for June 2020, at Cob Gallery.

OTP How were you first introduced to the art world in Dublin?

PD It was a couple of years ago...a friend and mentor of mine introduced me to a woman called Rachael Thomas who is a curator at IMMA (the Irish Museum of Modern Art).


She helped me a lot at the beginning with bringing me to openings and stuff like that. I didn't know a whole lot of that world so it was a very different side to the Dublin that I had seen.

I eventually got a studio in a friend's garage and then invited Rachael over to come and have a look at some of the paintings.


^ Peter Doyle, Blue Moon to Barker Street, 2018, courtesy of the artist and Atelier Maser.

OTP Maybe I could ask you to speak about your first show at Atelier Maser. How did that come about?

PD I met Al Hester just from doing graffiti, back in the day. Al was like an older head, so he was always around. We kind of got friendly - Dublin’s so small, everyone kind of gets to know everyone when you get a bit older.  

I bumped into him on the street one day in London, he mentioned he was opening a gallery and he asked would I be interested in doing the first show.

My friend Rubio made these gorgeous frames for all the works in that exhibition. He’s an amazing framer in Dublin. He has a place called Hang Tough.  

OTP Graffiti and Illustration seem to have played a role in determining the style of the work you’re producing now. Is there much of an overlap techniques-wise?

PD Yeah I think it played a big part in the start when I was trying to learn about colours and mediums. At that time it was more the illustrative side, that's kinda how I started off, doing drawings for pals' t-shirts and magazines and that.


I guess where the lines cross each other is the colours I like using. I used to like using vibrant colours when I was doing graffiti, and I bring that in.


I was into a whole different bunch of styles. Over so many years graffiti definitely helped me develop a real range of different gestures and techniques.

I also met a lot of my best friends doing it. Like my buddy Josh [Gordon], we're friends for nearly 10 years now and we were just working in Cuba together. If it wasn't for graffiti I wouldn't have any of that.


^ Peter Doyle, Stood Behind a Still Life of Fruit, 2019, courtesy of the artist. Photo: OTP.

OTP What were you working on in Cuba?

PD I was assisting Josh on a documentary [Butterfly] he was making about the lives of Shayra and Isabella Gonzales, and some of their friends in Havana.


They are twins who transitioned together. I asked if they wouldn't mind me taking some pictures and making some sketches while he shot some footage.


It was a very personal project and being a part of it was really great. I am hoping to capture something of their personalities in these pictures I'm painting now.

Apart from the twins we just met people from walking around and drinking in little bars, one guy we met on the street showed us around some of the nights but that fun ended when we had to bail him out of a jail cell.

OTP How did the nightlife in Havana compare to London for you?

PD More organic for one, no phones and cameras and people being obsessed with getting into certain parties.

People just danced and were happy and drank on the street, it was something I really enjoyed - not having full use of the internet for the time I was there.

I enjoy London, but that was just a special place to be when it came to nightlife.

^ Peter Doyle, studio view with The Clown, 2019 courtesy of the artist. Photo: Babajide Tikare.

OTP Will the paintings for your show in London be based on the sketches from in Cuba?

PD Not all of them, perhaps one or two...

OTP Generally speaking, are your paintings usually based on preparatory sketches? Do you work with projection at all?

PD I tend to draw a lot... mostly it would be of the main figure/subject in the picture but I also work from photographs I've taken. I just go right for it on the canvas. Working large-scale gives you a certain freedom to explore.

OTP Has your studio practice changed much since you came to London?

PD I would say my practice has changed a lot since living here. For the better or worse I don't really know. I'm less anxious working at the moment.


For the first 8 months I didn't have a studio. We had a basement in our building and it was tiny. The ceilings were this high [gestures around forehead height] and when I was painting in there my back was constantly bent.


I have never had a studio with a window, ever. If someone gave me a studio with a window I’d probably be delighted, but I’ve never had one.


^ Peter Doyle, studio view. Photo: OTP.

OTP Are there any artists making interesting work at the moment you would reccomend the reader checks out?

PD For sure. Joshua Gordon, Hugh Mulhern, Samuel Monaghan, Tom Fletcher, Alfie Kungu, George Rouy, Joe Sweeney, Stephan Burke. To name a few who I really like.

OTP Do you have any reading recommendations? What are you reading at the moment?

PD The End by Samuel Beckett.

OTP What about these boots you're wearing, did you pick them up in Cuba?

PD No they’re older, I did take them to Cuba but it was too hot to wear them. I couldn’t wear my cuban boots in Cuba. They look like I’ve worn them so much because they’re covered in paint. I didn’t want to get them covered in paint. I was annoyed when that happened.


^ Peter Doyle, Dancer With Audience, 2019, courtesy of the artist. Photo: OTP.

See more from Peter Doyle:



See more from Babajide Tikare: