I visited the WHF Big Cat Sanctuary on one of it’s open days in July and while browsing the many stalls I came across an art stall which really jumped out at me. Art Jigsaws!
Peter Norgrove is the man behind these stunning pieces of art, which I can confirm look even more impressive in person! They are actually made up of jigsaw pieces, blocking together the colours in order to build up the image.
I wanted to find out more about Peter and his work.
1 – This is a really unique way to create a picture – what gave you the idea?
As I prepared to retire from Art/Photography teaching following a 36 year career at Bethany School in Kent, I wanted to produce a piece of work to commemorate the School’s 150 year anniversary. 10,000 pupils have been through the school during this time and the only component I could think of small enough with which to create a larger work were jigsaw puzzle pieces (a little, but not much like the inspiration behind the Tower of London poppy installation designed to honour the fallen in 2014). 10,000 (or so….nobody counted!) pieces later, the school emblem of an oak tree took shape
2 – You had a stall at the WHF Big Cat Sanctuary Open Day in Smarden near Maidstone. What made you want to create pictures of big cats and get involved with this company?
This very graphic image turned out okay so I had a go at a Sumatran Tiger using photos taken with my ‘A’ level photography students at the WHF Photography workshops as reference. I now volunteer here on a weekly basis and I am sure that the fifty or so big cats they have here would prove truly inspirational to any artist.
3 – Where do you get your jigsaw pieces from and what challenges are there in finding the colours you need?
The puzzles carrying the approximate colours required are collected from regular visits to the charity shops and boot fairs of the south east, but there is no real way of knowing exactly how any of these pictures are likely to turn out as I am totally in the hands of the colours in the box that I happen to buy.
4 – You’ve gone for a large circular format. What made you go for a circle rather than a square or rectangle?
I use a circular format for these images as I think the traditional (jigsaw puzzle) square or rectangle, straight edges/ corners etc would detract from the subject matter.
5 – What’s the best way for people to find out more or contact you?
Anyone interested in seeing more is welcome to visit my ‘first’ ( very experimental website), devised to coincide with a recent four day exhibition at the Big Cat Sanctuary in Smarden; thejigpicture.com.
thejigpicture.com also features a time-lapse of the creation of the image of Mia, one of the Sanctuary’s majestic Cheetahs.
I have been truly inspired by Peter’s work – it’s really impactful when you see the pieces in real life and I’m pleased to have had the chance to see his work. Each image captures the imagination and I can only begin to wonder how they came together with the amazing skill and patience which must be involved. Peter’s art is one where, the more you look, the more you discover and the more you realise just how much has gone into them!
Also – you don’t have to purchase an original, Peter has prints of his work for sale on his website. I wish him the best of luck and look forward to the next piece!