Peter Moolan-Feroze: A Renaissance Approach to Creativity
Initiating Change Through Creative Thinking
© Peter Moolan-Feroze
"Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."
Peter Moolan-Feroze trained as an artist at the Slade School of Fine Art and the Royal Academy of Arts, London. He specialized in working from the artist's life model. His artistic expression and creative teaching were inspired by Roy Oxlade and Rose Wylie RA, radical anti-academic painters who based their art on instinct and spontaneity. Peter has collaborated with the Royal Academy of Arts, with the creation of the Royal Academy of Arts Outreach Programme, teaching school students and teachers about the nature of creativity through life drawing workshops. This resulted in the creation of three groundbreaking exhibitions of young people’s drawings at the Royal Academy, that raised important questions about art and creativity.
He adapted the same teachings in his creative workshops for corporate business, helping senior executives and their teams to create a climate of innovation at work. Some of the clients he worked with include Deutsche Bank, A.T.Kearney, Givaudan, M&S, McLaren Automotive, Unilever, Estée Lauder and Jo Malone. Peter is currently contributing to global programmes for leaders and teams, as an External Creativity Consultant at the London Business School. Projects have included supermarket chain Carrefour, medical suppliers Liva Nova in the United States and engineering company Orica in Australia.
© Peter Moolan-Feroze, Using drawings to improve the quality of communication and relationship
© Peter Moolan-Feroze. Managers at the London Business School exploring ideas about modern leadership
"Young people are not prepared to work in the same way we used to. A model that will be seen more and more in the future is one of smaller organizations that understand culturally how people want to work."
Although it might seem outlandish to put Renaissance, corporate business and art all in the same basket, the creative workshops of Peter Moolan-Feroze show us that it is not just possible, but vital for any type of successful leadership over time. The central subject of my interview with Peter and the term that reunites these, at first distinct categories is the one of CHANGE. "I am fascinated by the creative process. To sustain it, you have to be open to change"- says Moolan-Feroze. Starting from Heraclitus who said that there is nothing permanent except change, up to John F. Kennedy who talked about change as the law of life, we are all aware that in today's world change brings opportunity. In this sense, I was curious to find in what sense can drawing workshops stimulate a climate of change, in terms of innovation, at the workplace.
As a trained painter Peter Moolan-Feroze understands creativity. and its potential to generate new behaviors. He is a strong believer in Renaissance thinking, that was oriented towards synthesis rather than analysis, seeking to expand the creative human potential by focusing on the temporal and personal. To implement change, a successful leader needs to create new types of behaviors. Peter sees drawing and painting as another type of behavior.
"Drawing and painting allow us to go away from words and be able to get back to them with new, fresh eyes."
Much in the spirit of Roy Oxlade who viewed painting like a room of imagination, Moolan-Feroze emphasizes the symbolic aspect of drawing, that releases the unconscious and encourages imagination. "Transformation comes through creative energy. A good leader must understand the subject of creativity", says Moolan-Feroze. A good example of how to stimulate imagination in a different way is an example of cars and ballet. While engaged as a consultant for McLaren Automotive, Peter was asked to help the team in finding a creative solution for a new car model. As a solution he confronted the team with a ballet dance performance, a pure example of cross fertilization between different subjects that can produce outstanding results. "Expertize builds walls around creativity. Learning new requires a position of inexperience, so much as the Renaissance model. We as humans are curious animals, likely to seek connections between unrelated elements. And from this place of creative expansion emerges our imaginative freedom", explains Moolan-Feroze. He is a firm believer that training our mind in finding connections between unrelated elements will bring innovative solutions to any type of business structure.
© Peter Moolan-Feroze. A team picture in which the subject of the painting emerges through the process of making.
"We as human beings thrive on contrast."
In Moolan Feroze's creative work there is a visible fascination with contrast, bringing together elements such as form and color, observation and invention, analysis and intuition. His paintings represent a contrast between a traditionally trained artist, in front of a life model, and a modern digital tool. The classical training is visible in the elegance and precision of the black line, which in many ways evokes the work of Matisse. Expressive in rich, saturated color and strong in the drawing structure, the subjects of his paintings vary from human figure, to landscape and still lifes. In many ways they remind me of Emily Stevens' silhouettes and evoke Toulouse Lautrec's posters of mundane Parisian society.
© Peter Moolan-Feroze: Reflection
© Peter Moolan-Feroze: Waiting
Moolan-Feroze has been creating his IPAD drawings for not more than 5 to 6 years. His paintings are entirely digital, although he is not so keen on digital art. For a common observer, his paintings are mostly seen as watercolors, probably due to the classical art training. The swift movements of the pen are very much similar to sketching in illustration. One of my favorite paintings, The Yellow Dress, is made only with fingers on an IPAD!
© Peter Moolan-Feroze: The Yellow Dress
After just 3 ArtFairs the vast majority of Peter's digital prints got sold out, confirming the audience's fascination with innovative freshness in art. Peter's first one man exhibition New Digital Drawings was held in The Minster Gallery in Hampshire, in 2020. The high resolution of computer editing allows printing in different formats, but also works perfectly well on a large scale. While speaking about artistic influences Peter evoked the fascination with Raoul Dufy's large formats that he saw in his Aix en Provence exposition. An interesting parallel with Dufy and Moolan-Feroze is the sketching technique of an illustrator and the construction of forms through color, and geometric volumes.
© Peter Moolan-Feroze: Gondolas of Venice
Lastly I asked Peter about his favorite painting so far. He selected The Gondolas of Venice, highly evocative of the context, expressing a strong drawing language. That made me reflect more on the ambiance of Peter's drawings. The vivid colors, tick black lines, real-life subject matters and distorted forms that add to the expressive effect, define Peter's work as post-impressionistic. More than that, Peter's paintings are open stories, poetic daydreams where symbolic and highly personal meanings connect with the viewer on a deeper level. They are artifacts of a never ending creative playfulness.
More about Peter Moolan-Feroze:
Peter Moolan Feroze: moolanferoze.com