When did you first realise you are an artist?
When I was a kid, I was brought up in a family of artists - my father was a
poet, my elder brothers loved to draw, but somehow I had to find my own way -
I believe I did; I wandered around my home town and spent hours just drawing
and painting the landscape before my eyes. It was a bleak, cold, industrial
landscape, but I loved it.
Could you tell us some more about your work?
It's evolved a lot. At first it was about drawing - taking something from an
objective vision - and then handing it over to be viewed, seen and understood
by others; later it became about my own story, instead of what was in front of
me. Scale is another thing about my work; it just keeps getting bigger. When
I was 20 I got commissioned to make average sized works, then in an almost
spooky way every consecutive commission I got required slightly larger work. I
don't know when it will end.
I like that. And I like that work evolves. To see its roots, to
know where something comes from gives a kind of validation, a proof that the
work isn't phoney. That it's true to the maker. It's like looking at
family photographs of someone you love now but didn't know when they were
growing up. We see the things that we love now existed way before we were in
the picture. It validates our affection, reassures us that we're getting the
real deal and are right to feel the way we feel.
How do your drawings relate to your paintings?
Technically there are similarities; negative space, composition, structure.
Also drawing is a great starting point - it's good preparation for an idea
that might never come, but still - the fact one is thinking about it is what
counts: it keeps the mind ticking over...
What artists have influenced you, and how?
Renato Guttuso for his passion and will to influence politically,
Picasso, in his later years, for his advancement of subjectivity
Karl Weschke's early works for his mastership of 'semi figurative' (something
I normally have little time for)
and more recently west coast American artists; Larry Bell, Ken Price, Peter
Shelton, Ed Moses, Ruscha - all for their love of color and/or dimensionality.
For more off beat kooky; Gaynor Evelyn Sweeney.
Lee Bontecou and Ana Maria Pacheco tick all the boxes.
There are too many to mention, lists are always too short.
What other interests do you have outside of painting?
I read a lot, sometimes have too much fun, love to drink a little and see
friends or family. I try to keep mind, body and spirit healthy and live a full
life, rich with experience. Historically this has meant a contrary
life. Somebody once told me I had Champagne tastes but beer pockets. I'm
happy to indulge both, a binary life appeals to me, mixing things up. Louis
Roederer vintage Cristal with Tacos. Cheeseburgers at The Wolseley...
What inspires you to paint and how do you keep motivated
get tough in the studio?
Life; people that I love, places that I love. Love, I guess, is what inspires
me; to try to recreate something true and beautiful.
Some of my work is about recording, documenting or capturing, making something
that is still in time, a freeze frame eternal. A diary of a life. The
inspiration for that, I imagine, is to crystallise and keep a moment alive. To
make 'now' solid. I live in 'the now' a lot, its intangibility bugs me
sometimes. Now passes too quickly, but if it didn't it wouldn't be very now.
Art can go some way to resolving that paradox.
When it gets tough it's only my own fault, so I focus and listen carefully,
or let things play out and be patient.
How have you handled the business side of being an
Good but bad. Not a great answer, I know; but whenever I'm good at business
I'm bad at painting. Make the choice, find the necessary balance I suppose.
The money and business thing has always been a problem for artists. The main
thing is not to gripe about it; 'nobody likes a whinging artist' said a fellow
painter when I was living in Tribeca. He's right, we're artists because we
choose it. Enjoy it always and accept as best as you can the fact that
business and money will always be tough.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
More accomplished at what I'm doing now but also more open minded; branching
out into new forms and always, always learning. Right now I'd like to get into
really large scale paintings (bigger than I already do) or sculpture for
public areas. Also technology fascinates me, it's moved on so much. Things
like this website open up art to a wider public, adding extra dimensions and
understanding that only a few years ago would have been considered pipe
What's the best and worst parts of being a full time,
The best - living a true life, learning and experiencing anything and
everything, going wherever I want and having reason to. It connects me to the
earth, the city, nature, people, the Divine buzz of existence, all of life; on
and off the planet.
The worst -The constant need to sell work and stay ahead of the game. The
business, I aint whinging, promise.
What advice would you give to an artist just starting
Work hard, become so good in your work that you believe in yourself, enough to
make you go on for a lifetime. I was going to say
'driven' instead of 'go on for a lifetime' but lately I'm finding a higher
respect for work that is not so driven. Driven means someone else is doing the
driving. Usually an ego with heavy boots.
Also, it helps to find people that believe in you and what you're doing...
that takes a long time.
Patience, tenacity, effort and the love of what you're doing.
They all help to fuel you, from now into your future.