Portrait by Paul Gonella
Born in Zambia in 1969, to a “very Irish mother and very English father”, Pete Codling lived in Cornwall, Scotland, and London before settling in Portsmouth, his dockyard hometown, a cultural melting pot, adding to the mixed heritage of his daughter, extended family, and friends.
His regular travels to Europe, the Mediterranean and North Africa have given inspiration to his work and love of art, history, and culture. His broad portfolio work reflects the art, politics, and economy of the last four decades of the UK/British art scene. His art is now maturing into a coherent powerful body of work.
At sixteen he went straight to Portsmouth College of Art & Design (1986 -1991) and then to East London Polytechnic to complete his BA Hons in Fine Art in Drawing & Sculpture. From there to Wimbledon School of Art to study Site Specific Sculpture (1992 -93) and transferring back to Portsmouth to complete his master’s degree in 1994. He is a regular visiting lecturer to art schools and creative mentor to fellow artists.
He has had an established career as a sculptor and designer of public artworks, receiving commissions from Local Government funded regeneration projects throughout the UK. Using a variety of materials and scale, from the epic to the miniature, he has created award winning community projects commissioned to give local populations a sense of place, engagement, empowerment, and ownership.
A lifelong drawer, he relied upon drawing as a method of practical investigation and proposal for sculpture, using drawing as a tool of fabrication and understanding rather than a pictorial medium. But he has spent the last decade producing a large body of work on paper focused on narrative figurative drawing, inspired by artist residencies and his personal journey, in vocation as artist and storyteller. His work references the personal and poetic as well as political, environmental, and global issues.
Since 2010, Pete has dedicated himself to developing a portfolio of large-scale charcoal wall drawings, installation, and exhibitions. This award-winning body of work is gathering creative momentum and new audiences. He won The Chaiya Art Awards London in 2017 and 2020. And the London Art Biennale 2021. In 2023 he exhibited the Kinship Drawing in Southampton City Gallery in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery London.
He is currently Artist in Residence at the Historic Dockyard of Portsmouth, a three-year project, funded by Arts Council England. He is creating a series of huge canvas ship sail charcoal drawings, that can be seen in progress on his website or social media.
Follow his social media pages via the links below;
Since 2010, Pete has dedicated himself to developing a portfolio of large-scale charcoal drawings, now based in an atelier-style gallery on Castle Road, Southsea.
“Querying the essence of what it is to be ‘human’ in the age of Artificial Intelligence. His traditional, pictorial use of charcoal is an attuned and sensitive counterbalance within the contemporary art scene.”
On this website you will find a selected portfolio of contemporary drawing and sculpture from the last decade. His public art and sculpture commissions continue to support his drawing studio practice as he works towards a major exhibition that will try and tie the creative diversity of his work together in a retrospective.