Photo by Paul Murphy
Describe the things and images that you have around you in your studio and how they influence or inform your work.
I have practically nothing in my studio except for my art, materials and tools.It's normally quite tidy. For me the studio needs to be like a blank canvas.However, I do have some images of interest to me attached to my door. Postcards of a waterfall in a lush valley on Dartmoor, an image of the bird-flu virus cut out of a newspaper; a picture of volcanic rock and images of snowflakes under the microsope. Postcards of a renaissance painting, strange flowers and op art from the 60's. Coloured tape and beads lie around the studio. All have a quality or something about them that I may be trying to capture or talk about in my paintings.
I'm interested in pattern and what it means. Nature gives me an infinite resource. The continual decision making of creating an art work is a pattern in itself. Randomness becomes ordered as I obsessively look for structure in my painting. Patterns merge in and out of each other multiplying and mutating, like a plant or virus, or like life itself, continually evolving and eating away. A process of elimination and regeneration.
Describe your working methods and processes
I work on several artworks at a time. One artwork feeds another. I don't really do preliminary sketches. I work things out as I go along. I start with drawing patterns. Rhythmic repetitious forms increase and decrease in colour, tone and size. It's quite a meditative process.
The miniature paintings are as made as they are painted. Small pre-cut plywood squares are laminated with an excessive amount of glue so that it oozes out of the sides before the painting is begun. Sometimes I use wax or resin on the surface. When working with liquids, gravity plays an active role and I have less control, which frees up the process somehow.
The larger works happen on wood or paper. Sometimes I draw with sculpture, twisting wire and beads, which then feeds ideas back in to the painting.
Which single item in your studio is most important to your work?
The latest art work is always the most important although I have started playing around with objects that I do not attempt to turn in to art. It ' s more for fun. I'll play around with some plast i cine trying to turn it into some weird plant which eventually falls apart or place a heap of coloured mosaic glass tiles on the floor which may stay there for a while until I sweep them up. A bunch of fake pearls I found at a flea market have hung on my wall for so long they have become an art work in their own right.
Which artist/s most influence your work and which recent show has been inspirational?
It changes all the time. I am mostly drawn to art that is completely different from my own. A particular video by Pipilotti Rist comes to mind that I saw years ago; 'Ever is Over All' from 1997. The use of colour and dreamy language in musical rhythms is appealing. There is also a feeling of complete freedom through strange comical fantasy. Visually it connects to painting.
I enjoyed the recent Turner Prize. Rebecca Warren makes something beautifully grotesque out of failed attempts at making art work, in turn questioning what a perfect art work is. At the same time she makes her position vulnerable by making her own inner battle of art-making the focus which I think takes courage.
The new show by Ian Monroe rocks! Within the handcut craftsmanship of his architechtonic vinyl paintings and sculpture lie buried texts of manifestos of the past about the future that leaves one pondering existence. Then there is the new work by Martin Westwood; the list goes on
Is your studio a refuge or a place of torture?
My studio is a refuge but not an ivory tower, more like a laboratory for failed science projects. Only deadlines can be torturous.