Heaven and Hell: With Will Teather

PUBLISHED: 11:15 22 November 2018

Will Teather in the studio Picture: Martin Marsh

Will Teather in the studio Picture: Martin Marsh


Gina Long finds out about Will Teather’s East Anglian heaven and hell.

Will Teather is an internationally acclaimed painter and co-founder of Art Fair East, a major exhibition for the East of England. Will’s paintings recently featured in a one-person show at the Underdog Gallery at London Bridge, Red Dot Miami and as a finalist in the London Contemporary Art Prize. His studio is based in Norwich, where he is an associate lecturer in drawing at Norwich University of the Arts and the Artist-in-Residence for Norwich Arts Centre. He talks to Gina Long

What is your connection to East Anglia?

I grew up in Reepham, North Norfolk. My father was a local architect and my mum originally worked in the Norfolk Museums service. I lived in London in my 20s, where I scrutinised masterpieces from the national collections between generally getting up to mischief. I returned to East Anglia and settled in Norwich 10 years ago now, to live the good life. I now exhibit across the East of England and beyond. I also co-manage the region’s largest art fair, which brings talent from across the world to Norwich for three days at the end of this month.

What is your East Anglian Heaven ie what do you love most about East Anglia?

The beaches, the sense of community, the cosy pubs and the (relatively) cheap cost of living, whilst still being a stone’s throw from London.

What is your East Anglian Hell ie what you hate most about living here?

Now there’s a question!

The stereotypes that sometimes surround living here, and the fact that the national media often seems to ignore the arts outside major urban centres, however fantastic they are.

What’s your favourite East Anglian restaurant?

At the moment probably the Georgian Townhouse, because it has a playroom that my daughter can enjoy whilst mummy and daddy get a quick catch up! But don’t tell anyone!

What’s your favourite way to spend an East Anglian evening?

In a pub overlooking a beautiful green somewhere, as the sun slowly starts to fade before we cycle home. Or watching a band whilst getting well-oiled on a Friday night can be jolly good fun.

What’s your favourite East Anglian landmark?

Probably St Benet’s Abbey – it has a bleak beauty, as do much of the broads.

What’s the best thing that happens in East Anglia every year?

Art Fair East is nearly upon us! Did I mention that already? The largest event of its kind in the region.

It sees artists and dealers gathered together for a major art exhibition over three days each winter. You can meet many of the artists in person and there are literally hundreds of artworks in the show, of all shapes and sizes. It creates a real buzz and is the perfect chance to pick up a Christmas present and support living artists.

What your specialist Mastermind subject?

How to make a living doing things that you love.

What is always in your fridge?

Cheese and beer.

What’s your simple philosophy of life?

Keep faith in impossible ideas.

What’s your favourite film?

Sweeny Todd – it is very dark yet wonderfully theatrical and absurd.

What was your first job?

Packing wine-making kits at Cawston Wineries.

The Spice Girls came across the airwaves every hour like clockwork, the conversations also looped, everything seemed to be cyclical.

What is your most treasured possession?

My guitar - a Fender Telecaster. I bought it when I was 14 and it is still an excellent guitar- if you plan on having something for life, don’t get a stand-in.

Who do you admire most?

Polymaths like Nick Cave and David Bowie who have mastered many creative disciplines. And all parents.

What is your biggest indulgence?

Beer and cigs followed by more beer and cigs. Have just cut out cigs from this equation.

What do you like about yourself most?

I’m disposed towards being very cheerful. I think almost everyone that I meet is marvellous.

What’s your worst character trait?

On occasion I can also be quite moody, particularly if I don’t get enough sleep.

Where is your favourite holiday destination?

Southern Spain with a pool- I can truly switch off. I still enjoy bustling cities but my life is very hectic so real downtime is a gift to cherish.

Best day of your life?

It’s a face-off: My wedding day VS the birth of my daughter.

The wedding wins on uncomplicated joy, the birth is the gift that keeps on giving.

What’s your favourite breakfast?

Full English. Extra bread.

What’s your favourite tipple?

Benediktiner – a German wheat beer. Don’t have too many though or you’ll feel bloated.

What’s your hidden talent?

One should never hide their talents.

When were you most embarrassed?

1994. I hope it stays that way.

What’s your earliest memory?

Standing on top of a Wendy house at Playgroup and declaring it all mine.

The Castle was already taken by Luke Sewell - he is a filmmaker now. We went to London together to study art.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

Kooks by David Bowie.

Tell us something people don’t know about you?

By some miracle, I have an A in Physics at A-level.

What’s the worst thing anyone has ever said to you?

I got called a techie in my first job out of art school. I quit the next day.

Tell us why you live here and nowhere else.

I’ve got roots- East Anglia is in my soul.

What do you want to tell our readers about most?

Buying art is fun and painless - do it!

Then do it again!

Oh and please consider coming along to Art Fair East at St Andrew’s Hall, Norwich, between November 30 and December 2.

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