The genius of British artist Lincoln Townley
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/