Allistair Covell is a multidisciplinary artist with a background in fine art, fashion and printed textiles. Allistair’s creative practice is centered around his abstract visual interpretations of people, places and memories on a surface, heavily influenced by his synaesthesic responses to music.
Allistair’s artworks primarily explore the relationship he sees between colour, shape and music, spanning artworks on canvas, digital animation paintings on video and in the past a collection of hand-knotted carpets, made in collaboration with weavers in Afghanistan and Nepal based on his 2D abstract compositions.
Synaesthesia is a perceptual phenomenon, a condition best described as a ‘union of the senses’ where one sensory experience prompts another. Allistair regards music and sound as a raw material, as intrinsic ingredients in his practice as is paint. His synaesthesia, specifically chromesthesia, enables him to perceive sound as a mixture of energetic shapes and varying colours.
Allistair’s abstract and gestural brush strokes imitate the sonic movements of music and presents a physical manifestations of sound on a surface. Musical instruments, song melodies and vocals are depicted as rhythmic gestural brush marks, drawn photisms, layered shapes and complex shifting patterns.
Allistair’s studio, Digswell Arts Trust, 2017
In January 2014 Allistair won the inaugural AfghanMade Best Young Designer Award at the 9th Carpet Design Awards at Domotex Hannover in Germany. The award was Allistair’s first experience of creating a design that would be translated into a woven carpet. Driven by a fascination of the artistic heritage and traditional techniques involved in making carpets, Allistair began to work with weavers in Afghanistan and Nepal to translate a selection of his artworks into hand-knotted carpets, creating textile interpretations of his vivid abstract paintings.
In 2015 Allistair’s work received royal recognition from HRH The Prince of Wales when his digitally printed textile artwork Digital Stitch was acquired by the National Wool Museum in Wales, becoming part of their permanent textile collection.
Allistair has worked with a number of international organisations, companies and initiatives including Turquoise Mountain, Rug-Maker, AfghanMade, Craig & Rose Paints and Think Positive Prints UK, alongside working on projects with organisations such as Campaign for Wool, Arts Thread, the Letchworth Heritage Foundation and the colour consultancy agency Calzada Fox.
Memory Colour / Colour Memory research for Calzada Fox + Craig & Rose Paints, 2018
Allistair is a Trustee and Archivist of the Digswell Arts Trust, an arts organisation which has for over 60 years supported the development of emerging artists. From 2014 – 2019 Allistair was an elected Fellow at Digswell Arts, which included a studio space based in Hertfordshire.
From 2017 to 2020 Allistair was a member of Design-Nation, the premium portfolio for Craft, Design and Product in the UK and he showcased his work with Design-Nation at Decorex International, London in 2017.
Allistair is a graduate of the University of the Arts London with a BA (Hons) in Surface Design and also holds a Foundation Degree with Distinction in Fashion and Textile Design from the University of Bedfordshire.