Can you tell me about your practice? How do you get started on a piece of work?
My practice centres around painting and drawing found imagery, stills from moving imagery and photographs from my own archive. More recently my subject matter has expanded to also include non photographic sources; such as imagery from my mind’s eye - including dreams, day dreams or imagined imagery.
As the majority of my work is based on photographs, the starting point for a painting is working through my collection of potential source imagery (which I am constantly adding to/editing) and selecting imagery which captures me somehow and making a short list of images which I could paint. I sometimes have a specific criteria or theme which the selection is based on. Other times it's more of a gut reaction as to which imagery I think will lend itself to the process of being remade in paint - colours which could be heightened, textures or a sense of space or light which could be manipulated.
Who are your biggest influences?
Like a lot of artists, I keep a notebook with lists of artists, films, books to read so as such my influences are constantly changing to a degree. There are some artists I refer to again and again including Philip Guston, Morandi, Catherine Murphy, Man Ray’s photography, Manet still life studies, Andrei Tarkovsky. Some painters I’ve recently been looking at include Antoine Vollon, Lesley Vance and Dana Schutz.
Can you talk about the role that found imagery plays in your practice?
Found imagery has played a big role in my practice for a number of years. I am interested in using imagery which is out in the world but can pass us by and be overlooked. Recreating these images in paint encourages a slowing down in the process of looking and allows time to linger on images. Recently I have expanded my source imagery to include using dreams/day dreams/imagined images as inspiration for paintings, trying to capture imagery from my mind’s eye. I feel like even these images are heavily influenced by what’s around me and reference or echo the found imagery I have been using for years.
How important is material in your work?
The process of transforming an image from one material into another is integral to my practice; remaking a photograph in paint. My paintings are made by applying successive thin glazes of paint which sets up a play between definition and abstraction. Anticipated photographic details within the surface of the paint gives way to loose and minimal rendering at a closer look. I like to use the process of painting to play upon the latent 'otherness' and dreamlike qualities often found in cinema and how this can be reflected in painting, the material qualities of oil paint are crucial in creating this.
Alongside my painting practice I also make moving image/film based works in collaboration with musicians, making visuals to accompany live performances. To make these visuals I often play around with filming and editing a variety of materials- such as fabrics, liquids. So the specific qualities of these materials is key in creating a desired atmosphere and in attempting to give visual form to sound and music.
What is your most important tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?
Drawing is really important in my practice - so charcoal and paper! I use drawing as a way to filter imagery and figure out how an image will work as a painting. The process of drawing helps me to refine compositions and give me ideas for mark making and abstraction.
Can you give us a book recommendation that has been important in your practice? And tell us why it’s important.
‘Lynch on Lynch’ - by David Lynch, Chris Rodley - gives a great behind the scenes insight into David Lynch’s creative process and how he makes decisions as an artist. It was important to me as I read it at a time during studying my MA when I felt torn between painting and working in other media.
David Lynch’s cross pollination of music, painting and film to create abstracted atmospheres has been important to me. As Lynch began his career as a painter and then branched out to directing I was inspired by his fearlessness in not being afraid to follow the idea to wherever it may take you and to experiment.
Also ‘Night Studio’ - by Musa Mayer is a great read. It's a personal memoir by Philip Gustons daughter about her experience living with a famous painter as a father. It gives great insight into Gustons day to day routines as a painter.
Finally, is there anything new coming up that you would like to tell us about?
I’m currently back in the studio post lockdown working on developing a new body of paintings. I’ll be posting new work and information about future exhibitions on my website.
I am excited to have recently been invited to be a member of Contemporary British Painting and I am also a member of Workplace Foundation Community of artists so I’m looking forward to working with them in future.
All images courtesy of the artist:
Parcel, 2020, oil on canvas, 50x70cm
Mirror, 2019 oil on canvas, 50x70cm
Glass Eye, 2019, oil on canvas, 40x50cm
Pin, 2019, oil on canvas, 40x50cm
Sleeve, 2020, oil on canvas, 50x70cm
Ribbons, 2020, oil on canvas, 40x50cm