My art is inspired by the people, the places and the beings of everyday life. Observations and thoughts. Memories and impressions. Utensils, attire and conversation all stir my imagination. A full community, a still and peaceful landscape or an over worked and desolate fishing village all serve as motivation. I create from the resonance of experience and memory.
I’m challenged, and satisfied, by the process of art as much as the end result and I don’t like work to come into the world too easily. It often goes through layers of chaos and wrong turns before it starts to happen and building combinations, constructing and de-contructing are valuable elements of what I do.
Literal translations of ideas or visions don’t interest me much and I strive to keep all of my work as abstract in nature as possible.
As well as doing collage, drawing and painting, I collect ‘stuff’. Old paper, ephemera, books, photographs, sketches, magazines, anything that grabs my attention and is indicative of our presence. I put them to one side knowing they’ll come in useful but not really knowing how, when, or why. There’s no definite plan.
Although I’m aware of design and all the formal aspects of painting, initially, I don’t always have an idea of what I’m about to create. I just start. As I work, ideas appear and I follow them as if being led by some mysterious guide. Reaching for things in my ‘collections’ – which suddenly become relevant – I begin a process of combining and rejecting, painting layers over layers, ripping, sticking and scribbling, trying to discover a meaning or a title. Suddenly, and sometimes surprisingly, this process creates a path of clarity that in turn enables me, through all the paint drips, collage and pen work, to bring the piece to a conclusion. The title of a finished work is deeply connected to the thought process going on whilst I’m engaged with the piece, but can appear quite abstract to the viewer when seen next to the completed artwork. I’m hopeful the observer will engage with the piece enough to draw their own conclusions and interpret the vision according to their own history.
I always have more than one work on the go at a time and sometimes a series evolves. It’s an inexplicable evolution that captivates me and spurs me on to the next project.
On the occasions I know what I want to paint before I start, I’ll take into account the colours, textures and overall impression I’m aiming for. However, I still try to reach the end point by ‘going around the houses’ and encouraging mistakes and happy accidents. My process will still include paint and collage combinations and an element of risk. I never want the image to come together too soon. Sanding, blocking out and glazing are techniques I use regularly. They can appear in the background or be used to collapse an image that’s developing a literal appearance. The linear ‘start to finish’ approach rarely holds my interest as I yearn for the competitive and unexpected stages that occur when I’m led by instinct. My studio is filled with barely started, nearly finished and nowhere near finished pieces.