Creating watches of rare quality amidst the somewhat messy creation of oil paintings is an unlikely combination for a successful union.
This is exactly what is happening in the Clink Street Studio shared by Richard Hoptroff and John Gledhill.
Hoptroff’s watches come together in, what appears at first impression , an environment dominated by Gledhill’s heavily coloured canvasses which loom over the intricate mysterious tools of Hoptroff’s craft.
Unlike the space portrayed in Martin Scorsese’s film ‘Life lessons’ (1989) where the world famous artist paints and paces in an expansive studio, Hoptroff and Gledhill work together in close proximity with apparent ease and congeniality.
Gledhill’s work has found an unusual domestic setting. A scene of Piccadilly Circus hangs comfortably next to a grandfather clock of considerable antiquity past down the generations to Hoptroff. The pendulum is still, the hands rest at 5 05 o,clock. Hoptroff explains he removed the lead weight for another use and it never was returned.
The atmosphere is almost tangible. The smell of oil paint is perhaps the only evidence that a painter is at work. That is until you walk past Hoptroff at his desk, bent and peering through his eye glass over minute watch pieces and reach Gledhill working with a similar degree of concentration on a canvas secured to the end wall of the studio.
There is a sense that this is a significant time in the Clink Street Studio. The paintings mark time on their reflection of contempory life. Commuters come out of an underground. The city worker positioned comically at a computer is repeated numerously across the canvas while the watch, the precision keeper of our time modeled on St Pauls cathedral is made with an artistic handling so that time and art are merged.
The sense of excitement and enthusiasm is interchangeable between the mediums. This includes the business aspects to their work. Callers at the studio play their role in their response to the unique setup. For those visiting the studio will be struck by this stimulating working environment where the makers of watches and paintings thrive together in the same space.
At a time when business seeks kudos from association with art these two artists perhaps unaware patronize each other.
Perhaps this creative activity originating from two very different sources balms the place with an energy grounded in the human production of art. One which starts out as many intricate high quality components of significant value, the other with many strokes on a canvas both coming together as a finished work of art.