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Jasmine Rollason
Interview by: Jasmine Rollason Wednesday 4 July 2018
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Exhibition & Workshop: Chris Guest

The London Tattoo Convention are proud to welcome back fine artist Chris Guest with a brand new exhibition this September.

For the first time, Chris will also be hosting a class for attendees to learn the art of oil painting. This week, we caught up with Chris to find out more about his recent projects and upcoming workshop...

For any newcomers to the convention, can you introduce yourself and describe the kind of work you create?

Sure thing! My name is Chris Guest, I live and work in London, and I'm a figurative artist (working in oil paint and watercolour). My paintings very often feature heavily tattooed people that I know from around London.

What new pieces have you been working on recently? Which new themes have you been exploring?

In the past year, I have been painting a lot of tattooed characters on inflatables and kiddie rides; it's a lot of fun to paint, and I really want to tap into that feeling of excitement you had as a kid, when you'd see one of these rides in a supermarket and would pester your mum for 20p to have a go! I'm also looking to paint some really large scale works exploring these themes, and evolving the idea.

What has been your most challenging project to date?

I'd probably say my most challenging project has been painting for a solo show I did in London last December. It's a lot of pressure to make sure you have enough paintings to fill a whole show, plus you want to be proud of the work that gets shown! There were many times I thought to myself 'why am I putting myself through this?', but sometimes you have get out of your comfort zone, and put yourself out there - as it happened the show went really well, and I'm really glad I did it!

Can you guide us through your creative process; how does a painting take shape, from concept to finished article?

It normally starts with an idea I may have, such as - 'I think it would look great having a tattooed model riding a blow up shark'! Ideas can come to me anywhere, so I always keep a list of potential ideas on my phone, however rubbish they may seem, as you never know if it might be a winner! I then book a model for a reference shoot who I think will work for this idea. Once I've done the photo shoot, i pick the images I want to work from, and begin painting. The painting process usually takes 2-3 months per piece, although I will have several pieces on the go at any one time, as I like to make sure my paintings evolve slowly and steadily, rather than being rushed.

You usually paint with oils. Which other mediums do you enjoy working with?

Recently I have been trying watercolour, after I found an old tin of watercolours in my art cupboard. They hadn't been used for about 20 years, so I thought I'd try them out for something to do! As it materialised, it was a lot of fun, and they've been very popular, so i will definitely be exhibiting several watercolours at the convention this year. I also really enjoy screen printing, and want to get back in to that again very soon!

We are pleased to host one of your fantastic oil painting workshops at the show this year. What can participants expect from a workshop session? How can visitors sign up to join?

I'm very excited to be holding a painting workshop at the convention this year! They are open to all skill levels, so it doesn't matter if you've never picked up a paint brush in your life and want to get going with the basics, or you want to pick up a few new skills to take your painting to the next level; all are welcome. It will be a small intimate group, as I like to spend time helping everyone with their painting on a one to one basis. I try and make it a fun experience, with a lot of laughter, and the emphasis is on having a go and learning some new skills, rather than being too serious!

I do several little demos throughout the workshop, but most of the time will be spent with you having a brush in your hand creating your own painting from my own reference images, while I walk around the class helping everybody individually.

The best way to sign up and join is to drop me an email - - for more information and to reserve your easel!

Find Chris Guest's fantastic exhibition in our gallery area at The London Tattoo Convention, 28-29-30th September.

Please contact the artist directly for more information about booking a space on the oil painting workshop. Limited spaces are available on a first come, first served basis. Don't miss out!