Can you tell me about your practice? How do you get started on a piece of work?
I always know where I want to go, but not always how I’m going to get there. Choosing & using an item of used clothing as a canvas, or adapting a found chair as the base for a “sculptural” floor-based painting, are the first marks I make. I have an idea of the colour & character of brush marks I want, & work with successive layering until I reach a point where there is no more to do.
Who or what are your biggest influences?
Early days, I was fascinated by the Merz collage work of Kurt Scwitters, & the constructed paintings of Robert Rauschenberg. Both have remained touchstones that I return to for the way in which they reimagined the physical detritus of (urban) living in to a new physical reality. Seeing the works in the flesh was vital in gaining an insight in to their energy & aesthetic.
Fireman & Turner
Chance would appear central to your practice, through what you find and use to how you allow the paint to have a life of its own, how it falls and 4/sculpts as it battles with gravity, can you talk further on this play between the sculptural and the painterly?
that’s an interesting observation – I generally know what I’m looking for in an object, chair, table top, whatever, their identity & previous life/use is an important signifier. The title or kind of book (Atlas, dictionary, novel) used as a support for a wall painting can add a clue to understanding the intention of the work. Paint skins, harvested from domestic and other paints, and used items of clothing, are stacked/layered and repainted to form a materialistic trope of landscape and human intervention, an equivalent human topography. The physical behaviour of the paint is known & controlled to achieve this, but I encourage it to be itself in creating a sediment of media adding a sculptural syntax & objecthood to the finished works.
How important is the choice of material in relation to realizing the concept of your work?
PAINT is crucial stuff, I adore its fluidity, flux, & substance, I choose to work with it for its plasticity, how it is akin to a skin, & for its transformative potential.
In addition, the “thingness” of reclaimed stuff (furniture, books, clothing etc.) is significant; especially a trace identity of their previous existence remaining visible in the context of being repurposed within a painting. It’s a physical image of human presence embodied in an object.
What is your most important tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?
Can you give us a book recommendation that has been important in your practice? And tell us why it’s important.
Flatland by Edwin Abbot – for the way it deals with the uncertainty of perception & reality. On Creativity by David Bohm – for the philosophical & practical links between scientific & creative thinking, & the act of creativity as a way of moving through life. Wabi Sabi by Leonard Koren – for the way in which imperfect & impermanent phenomena can be valued, the merit in the lustre & grime of human presence.
Finally, is there anything new coming up that you would like to tell us about?