When I decided I wanted to be a painter As a young man, life at times felt so hard and unfair. I had all these feelings of angst and alienation, and I realised they felt heightened when I walked around London. In the city, I was drawn to the extreme differences between abundance and scarcity. All the beautiful and contentious moments from the streets, the architecture and the mad rush of daily life swept through me with amazing speed. I asked myself, why are these feeling of anguish heightened in the city? I wasn’t sure, but I thought there had to be a higher purpose and reason for all this. … Read More »When I decided I wanted to be a painter
The life of an artist/parent I drifted through life as a young man, socialising, travelling and not saving a penny, I use to reflect on this period when I was a single childless twenty-something, as a time when I squandered a lot of my time and energy. At 27, it all started to change. I wanted to take my art practice seriously, so I returned to university, and shortly after I started a family. Once I had responsibility in the world, I had a strong drive to start painting again. However, I had a challenging time, applying my abilities, attention and resources to understand my new parent and artist priorities… Read More »Artist Parent
I am longing for change I keep thinking that before World War Two, and the rise of commercialism and mass communication, keeping people’s attention must have been easy. When it came to looking at art back then, everyone’s eyes must have been used to following the lines around a traditional representation painting. However, since the Covid-19 pandemic, I now wonder how the world is going to look. Will it be the same again? I feel like this is a rare moment in our lives. I am sure I will always look back at and remember it. As the world shrinks and cuts back there is an opportunity in this chaos… Read More »I am longing for change
Jealous of other artist’s work When I left art school at twenty-two years old, I thought life wasn’t fair. How come I hadn’t learnt anything about running a business and promoting myself as a professional artist? I foolishly expected the art establishments gatekeeper to turn up to my degree show. All I wanted to do was to see a way forward to continue doing what I love. I expected to have been given a solution to the myth of being a starving artist. I feel like I was very naive but instead, I was really jealous of other artist’s work. But for some reason, l always felt that even… Read More »Jealous of other artist’s work
“Everything is abstract, in my language of paint” I love going for walks, and I often take my camera with me. I sometimes feel like a child discovering nature. As I walk, I react to the spaces. I have come to realise that if I look at what I want to express long enough, I can see everything in shapes, forms, lines and edges. These forces leave marks in my mind and l discover aspects that I have never seen or described before. Everything becomes abstract in my language of paint. I take lots of photographs, they function like preparation sketches or reference material taking me back to that… Read More »Everything is abstract
Making a better painting than I did yesterday I stand in front of a blank canvas. All the thinking and preparation is done. Inspiration from direct experience and reference material is in my head. New ideas are no good to me now, my overthinking mind needs to stop. I have a conviction; to make a painting. I want to make a better painting than I did yesterday. However, as I stand there, I realise the act of painting is a mystery. Without hesitation, all I can do is pick up a brush and focus on the first mark. After that, I am painting. I like to add a coloured… Read More »Making a better painting than I did yesterday
Getting started in the studio If you talk to people who procrastinate when in the studio they will often say… “First I have to open the door and tidy up the mess from last time. All the equipment needs tidying or putting in some sort of order, to make my space workable. In the winter I need to turn on the heater to warm the room up. Then I have to change my clothes, so I don’t get paint on them. Next, I have to think about my mood and the music that goes with it. I often feel the need for a tea or a coffee before I get… Read More »Getting started in the studio
Following your passion, looking for your creative secret On a wet cold street corner in Chicago, in the worst part of town, you’re experiencing the thrill of observing life with your camera. There is a homeless person on the sidewalk, who looks tired and hungry. As you walk towards him, he looks directly at you, reaffirming life. Looking in his eyes you see through the grime. You recognise his spirit and hope for something more worthy. Your pulse races, you’re witnessing suffering you can hardly imagine. Your hand moves to the shutter. However, you realise that to make the picture work, you need to step further into his personal space.… Read More »What is your creative secret?
Things that catch my eye There is a belief that if you allow yourself, it be distracted from earning money and a professional career like being an accountant or a lawyer; it is to play away from what is essential. I’m afraid I have to disagree. Since I was a child, I have allowed myself to be pulled down a rabbit hole. When most people move on with turning their life away from play, I have stuck at it, allowing myself to indulge in a belief that an interest in what I notice is of value. I have given perception, high importance in my life. I feel lucky to be… Read More »How does a new art work come about?
Marlene Dumas: the painter’s life In 2004, I started to make a visual diary. It is a great way to tune into what feels important. My visual diary has slowly developed and transformed over many years into a multifaceted body of work. This body of work, like Marlene Dumas’s work, has recorded many of the moments in life that felt relevant and significant. It helps me understand and consider the things l am doing a bit better. Writing about Marlene Dumas’s artwork enables me to articulate what l see and then go deeper into what l, myself, want to achieve when l stand in front of the canvas. Painting… Read More »Marlene Dumas: the painter’s life