Can you tell me about your practice? How do you get started on a piece of work?
Starting points for me are often disparate and random. Although there are certain areas of interest that I keep returning to.I still maintain a sketchpad to this day, which most of my immediate peer group think is very funny. It’s filled with mainly notes, reminders, and quick visual annotations. Starting points can be found anywhere. Generally, via the news, the net, overall media. gifs, jpgs etc
I tend to be more interested in material I’ve found via sources that are outside of my own socio-political beliefs. The data I collect doesn’t need to make any sense and some of it never will. The important thing for me is simply to collate information and sit with it till I understand why it originally caught my attention.
Who or what are your biggest influences?
I think this is something that shifts throughout your life.
In terms of from art: At the start of my career I would have almost exclusively sited minimalists and post minimalists with a few main exceptions such as Koons, Gursky and Deacon.
Over the years I’ve found that I’m more influenced by work that is somewhat confused, messy or compromised. Broadly speaking, I find that I progressively struggle with contemporary art’s morality, and am drawn to the work of artists who question this terrain. I am also a romantic, which means I’m easily sold by a good story and escapism. So many of the artists that influence my practice do so indirectly. Partly because of their gaze, partly their wit. Often it’s almost as if their practice tells me what I’m not managing to achieve. To list a handful: Pierre Huyghe, Chris Foss, William Hogarth, Pieter Bruegel, Elizabeth Price, Anne Imhof, Elad Lassry, Peter Doig, Gillian Carnegie
Narrative and language are central to your practice, exploring how it is used within society to create belief, ideology in the mass produced, can you tell us a bit about this?
In terms of the way advertising and mass media do this. To be able to make people fall in love with something is a truly amazing thing. Advertising has the power to make us fall in love over and over again, to engender mass belief and to convey an idea of transcendence. In relation to my work I think the key here is how we define ourselves via commodity. How we actually project our souls into the goods we desire. My work clearly delves into the visual
rhetoric of advertising because it is a language of the unachievable, airbrushed, and superhuman devoid of any moral scruples. People are meant to be manipulated by the use of colour in my work, are meant to be left in a position where they are emotionally torn between the beauty and the emptiness. The computer is the perfect vehicle for driving this
How important is the choice of material in relation to realizing the concept of your work?
In terms of my output which is almost exclusively rendered photography and film, I see all my work in respect of sculpture and installation. My work deals with consumer culture and desire so the materials the work is realised in reflect this arena.
To discuss one example: Photographic works are often manufactured using the Perspex reverse technique with an integrated hidden rear hanging system. This means that when the work is hung it appears to be floating from the wall surface. The Perspex reverse finish is something one might associate with car showrooms or cosmetics counter displays. It has the effect of being mirror-like so when approached from certain angles, can incorporate a viewer
into the composition of an artwork. I associate with artifice, the technique of hanging work so that it appears to be floating from the wall. I see this as an appropriate metaphor for the area my work deals with as well as reaffirming the pretence of the way in which the photographs are made.
What is your most important tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?
Without a doubt it’s the computer. (3D Software)
At college I always thought of myself as a sculptor. I first began using 3D software to create accurate imagery of what future sculptures would look like. It was much easier to sell a proposed sculptural work to a curator with CGI imagery rather than a sketch or your portfolio/CV. Slowly the use of this software became my practice. In part, I think, because it’s very literal: when you make a 3D object in the computer it’s similar to making it in real life. It’s a really sculptural process, where you get to learn the intimacies and nuances of the form you are recreating. In many ways my working method is like an act of possession. Objects, forms, places, buildings, landscapes, anything of genuine appeal ends up being recreated in the computer and often just sits there.
Can you give us a book recommendation that has been important in your practice? And tell us why it’s important.
Finally, is there anything new coming up that you would like to tell us about?