A recent interview for a local publication on my artistic process and motivation...

Tell us About Yourself
I graduated with a Fine Art honours degree at Manchester Metropolitan University, where I specialised in the area of printmaking and was particularly interested in lithography and screenprinting. What I loved about these techniques was the ability to lay colour upon colour and alter the transparency each time. The art of laying colours on top of and adjacent to each other to me, lends an artwork a particular depth of feeling unobtainable in other mediums. Colour behaves differently depending on viscosity, transparency and saturation and it was these relationships that fascinated me with my art and is an obsession that I’m still pursuing vigorously.

What Inspires You to Paint?
Motivation appears to me in many guises. I could be working under the influence of personal experience where the challenge lies in translating that experience directly onto the surface of the canvas. Often I take my cue from the physical landscape surrounding my studio. I am extremely fortunate to have use of a large workplace with much natural light nestled at the foot of the North Downs at Bearsted near Maidstone. The rolling hills and expansive farmland are just too grandiose to ignore. These natural features were here long before us and will outlive us all. So my work, which I attribute to these natural spaces are more in honour of them than created as a product of some aesthetic whimsy,
When I consider the work of other artists that really move me it has to be people such as UK artists Howard Hodgkin and Patrick Heron and American Mark Rothko. Their use of colour is markedly different but they each have a clear fascination with how it can be manipulated in order to convey emotion. Experiencing the intense obelisk-like structures of Rothko’s paintings surrounding you, the viewer at Tate Modern always has a huge impact on me. These works each have a character of their own that seem to effortlessly wash over the innocent observer and serves to create an atmosphere of calm and serenity.

What is Abstract Art?
In its simplest form abstract art is non-representational art and indicates a departure from reality in it’s depiction of imagery. That is to say if I view a landscape I won’t copy that image directly onto the canvas. I can produce emotionally intense work that relates to my experience of that landscape or create work that involves consideration to colour palette, shape or design. As a trained fine artist I can translate a scene leaf for leaf as a photographer would but to do that would give me little satisfaction or purpose. The location of my studio serves as a huge motivation and I can create highly charged works here. So, to simply reproduce a scene would be to do it no justice at all.
The amazing thing about abstract art is that it’s incredibly accessible. You don’t need a degree to appreciate
something that uplifts, saddens or makes you want to look harder. 

What is Your Process?
I have lately been working on my canvases directly on the floor of my studio. As I use the paint so thick I don’t want drip marks or any natural shift in the colour to occur. When I apply colour I consider how each mark can produce the sensation of movement and energy. Over days and weeks and after several layers have been applied and dried I scrape back through the layers to reveal underlying marks and hues. Some earlier layers may well be lost and some revealed clearly but my purpose is to create a depth and a spark between colours that reside on several layers which weren’t laid down adjacently on purpose. The result after which is often a labour intensive process can look and feel as spontaneous as a chemical reaction. My intention is that they exude the drama and emotion that is conveyed in those Rothko works. The colour palette is just as considered as the physical aspect of painting. Many of my pieces contain complimentary colours which work harmoniously and I’m very aware of the desire to avoid an ugly colour range. Overall I strive for a bright and positive feeling which I accentuate once the canvas is complete with several layers of varnish that helps increase the saturation.

Any artistic process will evolve over time. To me a painter who is producing the same work in the same style that he/she was creating 20 years ago is neglecting 3 things:
The opportunity to learn about different styles to convey your message, the opportunity to learn about him/herself and consequently the opportunity to widen his/her audience.

Change is something that has come naturally, yet gradually to my process. For example, the work I was producing five years ago contains as much colour as I currently use but the way in which I apply the paint has moved on. Comparing older works it’s clear to me that I was more tentative with the paints’ application onto the canvas which in itself indicates a shift in style.
The work of Robert Rauschenberg has always fascinated me because he uses brush marks and found images in his canvas to equal stunning effect. This approach has an immediacy and contemporary feel that paint alone can’t emulate. I already know that in my future works I’ll use found imagery to some degree. Having built my own screen printing studio this technique will be the method that I apply imagery with.

One important lesson I’ve learned regarding private commissions is that you are embarking on a relationship with collectors who admire your work for a reason. This collaborative process is just as rewarding as the creative process and is one that I’ll always strive to improve.

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