Roger Holtom

b. 1961, United Kingdom

"Thirty years ago, at the peak of my former career as a professional cellist, I began experimenting with paint and found that it allowed me a refreshingly different type of expression than through classical music. Moreover, it gave me a means of indulging my long-standing fascination with the craft of the improvisor.

Principles of composition, tonality, texture, colour, rhythm and nuance being common to both disciplines, I was able to take my knowledge of these fundamentals and apply them to an ongoing investigation into the art of improvisation – from the perspective of a visual artist.

Unlike the transience of a musical performance, the gradual evolution of an artwork allows one to stand back and enjoy not only the process but also a final result which can be revisited and appreciated long into the future.

Working as a professional cellist has almost certainly affected my painting technique, however. It has been observed, for instance, that I paint 'with my whole body'. Whether throwing paint at the canvas, distressing the surface or applying a wash, I find that the best results are achieved by harnessing the power of one's core body-mass, which is unquestionably the case when playing the cello.

I still play the cello regularly but now concentrate solely on the Six Suites for Solo Cello by J. S. Bach. Following the example of Pablo Casals I play one complete Suite every day. The fluency I have established as a painter is thus enriched and informed by the architectural purity of Bach, representing a unique form of research into the parallels between these two disciplines.”


Fiumano Clase