Peter Doig on Q: A visual companion guide
In a Q interview, the Scottish figurative painter discussed how his upbringing in Canada has shaped his art
Listen to Tom Power's full conversation with artist Peter Doig on The Q Interview podcast (click the play button below) and follow along using this visual companion guide.
In the '90s, the London art scene exploded with soon-to-be superstars like Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin, but it was their quiet contemporary, Peter Doig, who slowly grew to become one of the most respected and collectable painters of our time.
Doig's figurative scenes evoke loneliness, mystery and timelessness with a slight irony and a tip of the hat to popular culture. This past November, his 1990 painting Swamped sold at auction for $39 million US — a huge sum that made headlines around the world. It was one of the many images the Scottish-born, Trinidad-based artist has painted of Canada.
Doig joined Q's Tom Power over Zoom from Switzerland to discuss how his upbringing in Canada shaped his work. He also spoke candidly about the underbelly of the art market and what it felt like to be at the centre of the art world's trial of the century.
Follow along with the conversation using the images below.
Blotter is based on a photograph Doig took of his brother standing on a frozen pond in Toronto that they had flooded to create a dramatic ripple. Its title is a reference to an acid trip that inspired the image.
White Canoe, 1991
White Canoe is part of a series of canoe paintings Doig made in the '90s, inspired by the final scene from the 1980 film Friday the 13th. In 2007, White Canoe sold at auction for $11.3 million US, which at the time set a record for a living artist.
Country Rock (Wing Mirror), 1999
Country Rock (Wing Mirror) is one of Doig's most recognizable works. It's one of three paintings the artist made of the rainbow mural along Toronto's Don Valley Parkway.
Buffalo Station I, 1998
In 1978, 18-year-old Doig and his friends drove to Buffalo to see the Rolling Stones on the band's Some Girls tour. Twenty years later, he painted Buffalo Station I based on photographs his friend took outside the venue.
100 Years Ago (Carrera), 2001
Continuing his fascination with canoes, Doig based his painting 100 Years Ago (Carrera) on the cover of an Allman Brothers Band album with everyone removed except the bassist, Berry Oakley.
Untitled (Double Portrait), 2002
Doig's portrait of Neil Young is based on the cover of Déjà Vu, the second album recorded by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.
Gram Parsons Fallen Angel, 2005
Doig and Trinidadian artist Che Lovelace started the StudioFilmClub in Port of Spain to show old films every Thursday night. The Scottish artist created movie posters for each showing, including one for the 2004 Gram Parsons documentary, Fallen Angel.
Doig was friends with Calypso musician Mighty Shadow, who died in 2018. His music still has a huge impact on the artist.
Vintage Film Festival poster, 2015
Inspired by the StudioFilmClub posters, the organizer of Cobourg, Ont.'s Vintage Film Festival asked Doig's mother, who lives in the area, if Doig would make a poster for the small local event.
Lapeyrouse Wall, 2004
Doig was fascinated with a local Trinidadian man who walked through the streets of Port of Spain with his parasol. He worked him into this painting inspired by Yasujirō Ozu's film Tokyo Story, which he screened at his StudioFilmClub.
Echo Lake, 1998
Like White Canoe and Swamped, Doig's Echo Lake was also inspired by the final scene in Friday the 13th.
In 2015, Swamped sold at Christie's auction house in New York for $26 million US, making Doig the highest-selling living British artist of that time. This past November, Swamped sold again for a record $39 million US.
Disputed landscape painting
In 2016, Doig went to trial to prove he did not paint this work, which a former corrections officer was trying to sell as a Doig original.
Interview with Peter Doig produced by Catherine Stockhausen.