Alistair has a great love of 20th century cinema, especially the classic film noir Westerns directed by Anthony Mann with James Stewart. Clint Eastwood is another hero, icon and legend, the last macho movie star, monumental, laconic, enigmatic.
Peter Jensen, Chairman of the Sporting Art Trust, art collector, gallery director, racehorse owner and important figure in the racing world, encouraged Alistair to start painting horses for the first time. He was soon attracted to the drama of the racecourse, a natural step for an artist with a gift for depicting mysterious unguarded moments.
Alistair began his artistic career in film and television, where he focussed on model making and design. At the age of 22 he moved on to become a commercial illustrator. Early commissions included an independent comic strip and graphic design work for advertising. After five years illustrating he started applying the strong draughtsmanship skills he had gained to painting. After almost exclusively working in markers and pencils he started experimenting with paint. His early experience in the film industry taught him the technique of expressing a wider story in the confines of one still image. Each of Alistair’s paintings, according to one critic ‘ bursts with cinematic tension, his models are carefully posed and dressed to play a well-choreographed role within a cleverly lit backdrop.’
Alastair Little uses chiaroscuro to heighten the drama, throwing his protagonists into half shadow, or obscuring a face with a carefully tilted trilby.
Alistair works in the tranquillity of his Surrey studio, near Weybridge, treasured movie memorabilia and great American realist painters on tables, glass cases and lining the walls, to inspire his quiet creative hours.