One to Watch

Joshua Armitage paints the quietly overlooked

Joshua Armitage highlights the beauty of the everyday in his paintings, combining his observations with images remembered and imagined. His practice is rooted in drawing and he often focuses on subjects that are normally overlooked, be it a passing stranger, a house plant, or a chair. His goal is to produce works with the least amount of manipulation, as evidenced by his play with gestural strokes and minimalist approach to subjects.
Joshua received an MA from the Royal College of Art, London and a BA in Illustration with Animation from the Manchester School of Art. He participated in a drawing residency at the Centre for Recent Drawing in London. His works have been exhibited in galleries in London and Paris, most recently at the Mercer Chance Gallery, the Sobering Gallery, and Second Home.

What are the major themes you pursue in your work?

My work is informed by my own past or to be more exact, how my own life experience has affected the way I see the world now. I try to pursue a notion of quietness and calm within my pictures, looking for subjects that would normally be overlooked. I also like to work in the space between observation and invention, intertwining images of observation with images of my own imagining or remembering. 

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?  

I was told once that however much you experiment, you must also give yourself rules. This is very simple but really difficult. I think the most influential advice came from my drawing tutor Martin Morris. His classes taught me to see without over thinking, maybe the most essential thing in my work.

Prefer to work with music or in silence?

I work most of the time without music. My studio is next to a train station so it is never silent, but I quite like that kind of background noise.  In a city there are always sounds and I find that they are as inspiring as seeing things sometimes. I like the sound of planes passing or bits of overheard conversation.  

If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?

A picture by Eduard Vuillard.

Who are your favorite writers?

I don’t know what my favorite writer would be but my favorite book is probably Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell or For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway. I really like Kafka. I like writers who can make something interesting out of moments in life when nothing is happening. Art and Instinct by Roy Oxlade is a useful book too. 

About the Author

Jessica McQueen is Associate Curator at Saatchi Art. Need help finding art? Contact her via our free Art Advisory service at