In a nutshell, my art is about life and memory. Observations, impressions and ideas about everyday human existence.
I’m challenged and satisfied by the process of art as much as the end result and I don’t like my work to come into the world too easily. It goes through layers of chaos and wrong turns before it starts to happen and construction and de-contruction are valuable elements of what I do.
As well as mark making, 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 knowing how, when, or why.
Although being 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 now have 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 viewer will engage with the piece enough to draw their own conclusions and interpret the vision according to their own history, but that engagement is critical to my opinion of the success of the piece.
I always work on more than one piece 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 as 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.