For my latest interview please visit Coates and Scarry's Blog.
Text From Exhibition Catalogue
Can you briefly describe what you do?
I use images that I take myself or find in all sorts of places and select, edit and adjust them to work for me. There is a conversation between these found images and the way that I think about painting tradition.
What drives you to make work?
I am very romantic about being a painter. The stories of painters’ lives fascinate me and I am vain. I think that I started out liking the idea that painting would allow me to have a more interesting story to tell.
I think you fake it as a young artist a little. You live the cliché but, as time passes, the conversation becomes authentic. I don’t think painting is where you
find the avant-garde generally any more. I think painters are continuing trains of thought that the artists they admire started.
Can you tell me something of your day-to-day working practices?
I don’t get started well, I procrastinate. I pace, I weed the garden, I tidy up. I am only just finding a consistent process and that has been part of my recent success I think.
The day very much depends on where the current painting is in the process. In the middle is normally the best when it is flowing. Drawing is really hit and miss but painting is beginning to be more consistent now. The two days in the dark with a projector are most crucial.
How long have you been working in that way?
Using this process? Not that long, there are may be ten paintings done like this. I paint in the same way really, I just have different tools to prepare with.
Which artists have had the greatest affect on your work?
At sixteen I feel in love with Munch and Klimt and German expressionism. At university I responded to Gary Hume’s aluminium paintings and got more interested in classical symbolism. Since then there have been many. Contemporary painters like Hernan Bas, Robert Welsh. I could name artists all day but my biggest influence right now is Pierre Bonnard.
What, outside visual art, informs your practice?
Photography first and foremost. In the past that was fashion photography, slick editorial stuff from Vogue etc. Now I love old National Geographic and catalogues.
I’ve talked before about building a relationship with an image. I like them to hang around for a while and become part of my environment. I think books and film help me identify my direction and certainly music helps me to maintain an atmosphere in the gaps when I can’t paint. Coming back into the studio and working with the same music helps keep mood constant.
Have you seen anything recently that has had an effect?
Re-visiting the Pitt-Rivers collection in Oxford was incredible. The objects are jaw dropping. The feeling of connection to the past and with that human instinct to create and embellish made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.
How would you like people to engage with your work?
Mindfully just to be present in front of it and really look.
Do you have anything exciting on the horizon?
I am working with assemblage/installation artist Chantal Powell on a project that will use some of the work in this show. We are exploring classic adventure stories. And developing a show called The Fall Of the Majestic Elk. The “dress rehearsal” for this will be at Wolves art gallery in November.
Interview format used with kind permission of fundamentalpainting.blogspot.com