Artist’s InspirationWe leave traces of ourselves everywhere. Sometimes we mean to, but more often, and more interestingly the marks we leave are a by-product of our convictions and inclinations. Scuffs, smudges, tyre marks, dusty corners, footprints and spillages are an inadvertent narrative of who we are. Taking these casual gestures, I explore how they can become a method of painting, and in themselves materials of construction. In this process I see kind of archeological exploration of everyday compulsions. In the studio I paint, saw, drill, sand, scrape and rout my works into existence with hands on material directness. The result is less the doing and more the by product of this material process. I am making space , but doing so with a very physical approach to the painting’s surface. I’m interested when this direct action is consumed by it’s aftermath and there is a a kind of spatial realignment of active and discarded gestures. I look at building sites, the rectilinear landscape of car parks, the contained yet expansive stretch of motorway experience. I’m interested in places that undermine our conventional sense of belonging. We inhabit them, however momentarily, our presence within them is transient. With the portrait, the interior or the still-life, my approach is the same. The material and space in my painting hovers between a kind of modern technicolour disquiet and romantic absorption.
A wide variety of experiences inspired me to be an artist and make art. My childhood, Jobs I have done and Interests I have developed that fed my painting.
As a child I was exposed to a lot of traditional art. My parents did a seventies version of the grand tour around Italy with very little money, camping and driving luggage packed cars that constantly broke down. I was exposed there to some of the most amazing art on the planet. I was inspired by early Renaissance greats like Paolo Uccello or Pietro and Ambrogio Lorrenzetti, relatively overlooked Italian painters who pioneered early perspective systems.
This interest in structure and perspective drew me to modernist architecture. I am interested less in the great pinnacles of modern architecture than the humble post war high-rises punctuate every city in the world, unobtrusive monuments to a mass-produced utopian dream.
Structure, decay and the street. I am fascinated by the care with which objects are cast onto our streets like inadvertent art installations, urban still life’s in the tradition of Morandi or de Chirico, Malevich or Mondrian.
After college I worked as an Exhibition builder in the Tate, Hayward and other major show spaces in London. I would experience these half built spaces as ruins. I’d be wrecking walls and building them up to pristine whiteness from skips of piled rubbish, the invisible dirty process of the art world. These patterns of destruction and spacial order had a strong influence on my process of making and exploring painting.
I dance and teach Argentine tango, play and teach chess and make sourdough bread obsessively . All require a certain kind of structured improvisation ( there is no choreography in tango) and relate, although not literally to my approach to painting.
I’m a single parent living in South East London with three fabulous children. Alessandro and Julia live with me. Annwen lives in Wales. As an estranged parent to her I travelled by car to see her every two weeks during her childhood. The motorway and the road generally, I see as a meditative connecting space and is an ongoing theme in my work.
● MA DIP Royal Academy Schools, London 1996 – 98
● Diploma in Landscape, UWE bristol 1995 – 96
● BA Hons. in Fine Art, UWE bristol 1991 – 94
● Foundation in Fine Art, W.G.I.H.E Swansea 1988 – 89