From industry icons to unusual objects in his home, Martyn Thompson tells C&TH what’s kept him inspired throughout his multifaceted career…
When I lived in Sydney I had a clothing label using fabrics that I hand painted. I began to photograph the clothes and people started paying attention to my photographs as much as the clothing – my business grew from there.
A lot of my creative references are from my own past, I tend to work with recurring materials: cardboard, flowers and paint. They’re often the same ideas but I think of them in a new way.
I get my ‘creative thinking’ work done when I’m in transit; on a bus, on a plane. It’s a time when I can relax and let new ideas in.
There’s a very direct link between my art and photography and my fabrics and wallpapers, which all begin as one of my photographs before they are edited and developed into a repeat pattern. I think the fabrics share some of the same qualities as my photography, they’re painterly, tactile and in a muted palate.
The spaces I find most inspiring are those with a wonderful quality of light.
The design of my home reveals that I’m sentimental, eccentric and happy to stumble in the darkness, rather than ruin the subdued mood of the lighting.
When I first moved to New York I bought the first pieces for my home from Paula Rubenstein, I still have them all. A lovely little painted farmhouse side table (it has appeared in countless photoshoots as a prop), an oil portrait of a miserable woman and an Alvar Aalto chair.
If I could ban anything from interior design, I would ban the colour white.
I would most like to nose around Vivienne Westwood’s house. She’s an idol of mine. I love her singular vision and her eye for twisting historic references.
The most unusual objects in my home are two cast aluminium lights from Chris Wolston, they look like crazy little alien animals.
Tudor England was to die for in so many ways. The fabulous clothes, tapestries and furs.
In the industry, I most admire my friend Ilse Crawford for her pioneering holistic approach to design and living.
If money were no object, I’d love a beautiful vintage Art Deco rug; I love Olga Fisch’s designs.