Allistair is a multidisciplinary artist with a background in fine art, fashion and printed textiles. His art practice explores the relationship between colour, shape and music and includes painting, digital media and textiles. Works range from abstract painted artworks and videos to hand-knotted wool carpets, made in collaboration with artisans in Afghanistan and Nepal.
Allistair’s creative practice is centered around his visual interpretations of people, places and memories on a surface, influenced by his synaesthesic responses to music.
Synaesthesia is a perceptual phenomenon, a condition best described as a ‘union of the senses’ where one sensory experience prompts another.
As an intrinsic ingredient of his practice, Allistair views music as if it is a raw material and his synaesthesia, specifically chromesthesia, enables him to perceive sound as colours and shapes. The colourful enigmatic and energetic abstract landscapes Allistair paints are his experiments in attempting to physically record sound visually on a surface. Musical instruments, song melodies and vocals are depicted as rhythmic gestural brush marks, drawn photisms, layered shapes and complex shifting patterns.
The Artist’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 fabric. 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 work 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, AfghanMade, Rug-Maker, 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 preparation work, 2018
Allistair is a Trustee of the Digswell Arts Trust, an arts organisation that has for over 60 years supported the development of emerging artists. From 2014 – 2019 he was an elected arts fellow at Digswell Arts and provided with a studio based in Hertfordshire.
Since early 2017 Allistair has been an elected member of Design-Nation, the premium portfolio for Craft, Design and Product in the UK.
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.
Studio wall at the Digswell Arts Trust, 2017