This self-portrait, created in the third month of the COVID-19 lock down, is an ode to freedom and a nostalgic look to how things were before travel restrictions.
The artist, Billy Baigilhole, often creates paintings of figures in abstract scenarios surrounded by symbolism and references from his own past. In Self-Portrait (Japanese Nostalgia), inspired by the visit to a Kyoto shrine, we see the outline of torri gates that mark the entry to a sacred space symbolising the sacred memories of his life pre-covid.
Billy Bagilhole, son of the great artist and teacher Robin Bagilhole, grew up in a household full of his father’s paintings and prints. From a young age Billy was inspired by his father's artistic talent and took to imitating his work through a series of animals, religious figures and imagined characters and icons that would reappear in his later work.
The artist's father passed away in 2001 when he was 6. Billy openly states the reason he continued to persist within art was because of his father and this is why his empathy for mark-making, for creating is so strong.
Billy Bagilhole predominantly works through the mediums of painting and film making. Often covering canvases with salt and thick paint, he enjoys the technicality within painting, within colour and within the eye of the lens.
The attraction to painting Bagilhole states is the ability to create the unknown, the unimaginable and the uncanny. With sequencing themes throughout his work from childhood, such as the often seen fish bones, his occurring character "Edwin" or the bull, we can start to see a hint at relations between these often differentiated pieces of imagery.
Billy believes that we are inherently curious and that the pursuit of art offers an expression for this curious nature. Making art becomes a medium for wonder, something unsolvable a sensory koan that engages both artist and viewer.
Chelsea College of Arts 2017, First Class Honours.
Awards: Winner of the Peter Pendergast Drawing Prize, 2014. Awarded 7th place in the WJEC Marking Regime for Foundation Diploma Courses across the UK. Finalist in the Galeri Caernarfon Open Exhibition, 2014. Selected for the Welsh Biennale Nova Art Prize 2017. Nominated for the Jonathan Harvey Studio Award, 2017. Three nominations for The Cellar Music Video Awards 2020.
Solo exhibitions: Juncture, Hoxton 253, 2019. Just William, Plas Glyn y Wedde Gallery, 2019.