The ge­nius of Bri­tish artist Lin­coln Town­ley

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Art Works Pte. Ltd, Lin­coln Town­ley’s Sin­ga­pore-based rep­re­sen­ta­tives in Asia, will be ex­hibit­ing a range of his works at the 10th an­niver­sary of The Podium Lounge this year. We chat with the artist about his process, his sheer de­ter­mi­na­tion, and why putting your­self out there for art is a good thing.

Not even a decade ago, no one had even heard of Lin­coln Town­ley, art world’s ge­nius out­sider. He was an al­co­holic who would down sev­eral bot­tles of red wine ev­ery­day for lunch, move on to spir­its, par­tied all night and spent week­ends sleep­ing it off. In be­tween, per­haps to ex­or­cise demons, as a way of let­ting it all out, he’d paint. The sub­ject al­ways stemmed from a source, what he’d termed The Hunger – can­vasses that told of con­sum­ing to ex­cess. He’d ba­si­cally paint his pain. His story, as it were.

This pain – or at least, his de­pic­tions of it on can­vas and mul­ti­me­dia – has made him the dar­ling of col­lec­tors, es­pe­cially celebri­ties who prob­a­bly know a thing or two about a life of ex­cess. But beyond that, he’s also very much in­ter­ested in iden­tity, the con­cept of “self ”, of celebrity. When asked what is it about th­ese themes that res­onated with him, he says, “I’m fas­ci­nated in what we are will­ing to put our­selves through to suc­ceed. Why do we want so much? I want it all, I want to be the big­gest con­tem­po­rary artist in the world and this will hap­pen, but why do I feel this way? It’s the same with fame and for­tune, what makes busi­ness­man strive to run huge com­pa­nies? The same as ac­tors and cre­atives, it’s a very hard in­dus­try but some pros­per and some def­i­nitely do not. I’m in­trigued and that’s in the work, look be­hind the mask, what’s re­ally go­ing on?”

Michael Caine has dubbed him “the next Andy Warhol”, true to a cer­tain ex­tent, though we’d ar­gue that he casts a darker shadow than the 60s icon. Th­ese days, he seems bet­ter, more at peace. “It’s ac­tu­ally nearly seven years ago now, the time has flown by. I’ve com­pletely changed my life by em­brac­ing my hunger to cre­ate, not to de­stroy,” he says.

Town­ley is a self-styled out­sider in a world that does not lack for mav­er­icks and an em­bracer of so­cial me­dia – not to men­tion cryp­tocur­rency – which re­ally makes him beyond the pale for many in the art world. “If there’s some­thing worth show­ing, post it! If you don’t you’ll be left be­hind; so­cial me­dia is an art form it­self, use it and de­velop it and go out of your way to do what un­suc­cess­ful artists are un­will­ing to do. It’s made me a mil­lion­aire.”

In short, he doesn’t play by the rules, ex­cept his own (“There re­ally is only one per­son you can rely on in life and that’s your­self ”) which makes ev­ery­one want a piece of him even more. Proof? He’s ex­hibit­ing at La Bi­en­nale di Venezia (Venice Bi­en­nale) for a six-month pe­riod, start­ing May 2019. In the mean­time, his work will be ex­hib­ited dur­ing the 10th an­niver­sary of The Podium Lounge dur­ing the Sin­ga­pore Grand Prix.

Says Rob­bie Hoyes-Cock, founder and CEO of The Podium Lounge, “When Sir Michael Caine re­cently de­scribed Lin­coln Town­ley as the next Andy Warhol, I knew im­me­di­ately that his art­works would be a mas­sive hit at our event over the Sin­ga­pore Grand Prix in con­junc­tion with our Year 10 an­niver­sary.” It’s a shame he won’t be in town for the ex­hibit. But who knows, he might just show up next year, ac­cord­ing to his gallery, Art Works, Sin­ga­pore’s lead­ing fine art in­vest­ment gallery, which pro­vides com­pre­hen­sive, in­de­pen­dent ad­vice to pri­vate in­vestors and art col­lec­tors. “We al­ways have a few Lin­coln Town­ley works in our gallery and ac­tively pro­mote his works be­cause we be­lieve very strongly in his ca­reer – we’re very pas­sion­ate about Lin­coln as an artist.” The works of Lin­coln Town­ley will be on ex­hibit at The Podium Lounge dur­ing the Sin­ga­pore Grand Prix. Head­lin­ing the 10th an­niver­sary of The Podium Lounge this year are Joel Mad­den, Taboo and Boy­zlife’s Brian Mcfad­den (Westlife) and Keith Duffy (Boy­zone), among oth­ers. The Podium Lounge is at The Ritz Carl­ton, Mil­lenia. VIP ta­bles and tick­ets are avail­able at podi­um­lounge.com/sg/

Im­ages from Lin­coln Town­ley’s Icons se­ries

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