We bet you’ve got your favourite coffee place, restaurant or shop in Redhill or Reigate, but do you have a favourite local artist? Given the number who live in the neighbourhood, you’re sure to find someone you like, and if you’re a fan of printmaking you might look up Justin Norcott, whose London-inspired art currently hangs on the walls of the Ralph James office in Reigate.
Born in South Africa, Justin moved to the UK at just six years old, but his story is not of a child prodigy turning out masterpieces from his cot. In fact, it wasn’t until his teenage years that he picked up a brush.
Having discovered a talent for art whilst undertaking a G.N.V.Q course at Esher college, he went on to exhibit at the Royal Academy summer exhibition at the tender age of 18, selling a drypoint etching of his mother. His next stop was Cardiff UWIC for a degree in fine art where he turned his focus to printmaking after falling in love with the process and smell of the inks.
As he perfected his skills and various techniques, his inner-entrepreneur began to kick in. Its something you can feel when talking to Justin and it’s not a quality that’s often linked to artists. Nonetheless, its presence soon led to selling his works at Battersea Art Fair while simultaneously winning a figurative art prize.
After a short teaching stint, he became involved with group exhibitions, where a love of sketching London really took hold. And after being recommended to a gallerist by the Whitewall Galleries he took part in London pop-up shows at St. Katherine Docks and the artistic mecca of Brick Lane.
It was at here that Justin really began receiving recognition, with actors like David Suchet and Tom Hollander, as well as MP Zach Goldsmith, all buying his artwork which has since appeared at a gallery in a Belgravia.
Describing his style as “distinctive, subtle and suggestive”, Justin believes people are drawn to his London-themed art because it fuels our fascination of how the city looked and felt 150 years ago while feeling at the same time familiar.
That was certainly the case for the team at Ralph James, who loved the idea of displaying Justin’s works when he approached them – there’s that entrepreneurial spirit again. His contemporary renditions of historic London were seen as a perfect match with the modern vintage style of the Ralph James offices, not least because the walls they hang on are painted in blackout grey.
With London as his muse, is Justin more suited to big city life? Actually not. He’s too much in love with the relaxing atmosphere of Reigate and its wooded areas by the park, where he can gather his thoughts and think about his next creation.