Posted by admin
When did you first discover your artistic side?
As far back as I can remember I was at my happiest when I was painting and drawing, but my first taste of real artistic achievement was at the age of ten – I won a Blue Peter competition for a painting I submitted. The theme was ‘giants of the land and sea’ and I sent in a painting that won a prize and I was awarded the famous Blue Peter Badge! I’ve still got it.
In my teens I spent all my spare time drawing and sketching portraits. I would constantly coax my friends and family into sitting for me and if they got fed up, Id draw celebrities from magazines like ‘Smash hits’ and ‘Just Seventeen’. I quickly learnt that my drawing skills were the source of much admiration from friends and family, and so I suppose I milked it and drew and painted even more just to get noticed.
Who has been the biggest influence on you artistically?
My Dad. He spent hours teaching me how to draw in perspective and to really look at my subject matter with new eyes, not just draw it. He encouraged me to go to art college.
In the seventies, I would be glued to the TV watching ‘Paint along with Nancy’. I looked it up on the internet just the other day and was amazed at how dated it all looked. As a very young child, I would just think ‘Wow’ when I saw her in action. Nancy painted the most unconventional and colourful abstracts with a palette knife. She worked at speed by drawing a grid and the outline of her subject matter and plastering tons of colours on with a knife. I suppose that was my first taste of abstract art.
Who inspires you now?
Many people, but there is one artist that sticks in my mind. I am in absolute awe of an Australian artist Called V R Morrison. In my opinion, she captures light and shade in her work like no other artist since Caravaggio. I visited the NSW gallery in Sydney last year and spent many hours with her recent painting called ‘Vicious circle’ a truly amazing work.
Where did you study art?
Yorkshire and London. I took a diploma in Graphic fine arts – it wasn’t really Graphic design as we know it now. Computers were only just being developed and we spent just one hour each every month fiddling around some archaic machine. This was truly traditional Graphic art – everything created by hand. Classes consisted of intensive painting, life drawing, calligraphy, design and photography.
I later studied in West London for a higher national diploma in Advertising as an Art Director.
When did you become a professional, full time artist?
I’ve had a few different jobs in my time – a revenue assistant in the tax office being by far the most uninspiring. Being creative was always something I reserved for my free time, I never actually believed that I could make a living from it….until, that is, my mid-twenties when I landed a job in a top London Ad agency as a creative. I loved the buzz, the constant search for the best ideas and the highs when we won awards. But….I hated the commute to London and the lack of time I spent at home with my family. I have always painted in my spare time since I graduated from Art School in 1990 and I decided to try and market my work online. It became apparent very quickly that I had a decision to make. Give up the ad agency career, and go it alone as a full time artist, or carry on with my 4 hour commute each day. No contest! With huge support from my family, I chose to follow the dream… There are not many people that can say that they truly love their chosen career. Painting is my life now, it is what I was meant to do….I consider myself very lucky indeed!