I have recently been asked why I create art? It has been a surprisingly challenging
question in which I have had to delve deep and uncover new truths about the
work I create.
I have been making pictures for so long now that it has
become integral to my everyday being; it is something akin to breathing-an
automatic process that allows me to live.
The facets for creating my paintings are manifold. There are linked to the loss of my sister
when I was merely a boy; they are triggered by the bullet which my father put
through his head when I was 21 and studying 3,000 miles away. They are rooted in the veneer table-top which
threw demonic faces and voices at me when I was 17 and experienced my first
bout of depression. They are intertwined with all the deep regrets I retain and
all the exhilarating hopes I have for a better tomorrow. They are steeped in my fascination with the
human form and peoples abilities to be either so generous or so cruel. They are linked to the politics, history and
social studies I have done throughout my life.
They are emblematic of a man trying to make some sense of order in his
own mind while also trying desperately to come to some kind of understanding
about the chaotic world in which he inhabits.
Relocating and moving abroad comes with it’s own fantastic
mixture of chaos, excitement, intrepidation and annoyance.
For the past twelve years life has been
pleasantly spent in a cool Bristol enclave with the comforts of familiarity,
work, friends, love, a cat and the spiritual safety valve that is my art
studio. This is the longest I have stayed in one place since I left home at the
age of 18; I am now 41.
You get used to comfort and familiarity as you get older
but once again, by hook and by crook I am out of my comfort zone.
My partner and I have upped sticks and moved
to Bratislava, slap bang in the middle of glorious, historic, weathered,
experienced and sunny Europe. Falling
into a foreign land where the road signs are incoherent, where the buildings
are alien, where the tongue is twisted in different tones. It is exciting and baffling all in one
The move has been on the cards for several months and we
are not adept movers. I come from a
family of collectors; from guitars to gramophones, chairs to pictures and this
doesn’t even cover the 200 paintings which I have created over the past
Sitting here, gazing out the window at our new gloriously
overgrown garden this is the thing that I am craving the most; the unsung
saviour of my studio space; the great alleviator of stress and strain. With boxing up and moving my creative output
has been put on hold and as each day goes by I can feel this strange, surreal,
untold presence building up in me; that subconscious, desperate longing that
resides in the artist when he/she/they cannot paint. Freedom is found in the flow of the oil paint. The application of paint, the abject standing
in front of the canvas searching for meaning becomes the very definition of the
meaning itself. It rumbles on, pouring
out of the hand, the arm, the mind, the body until it is plastered there in
vibrant, visual colour into some abstract, Surreal semblance of meaning; often
I do not know the meaning of the work itself, only that it has meaning, if not
to anyone else then at least to me. To
become freed from the shackles of mundanity, to liberate the mind from its
consciousness, to seek and explore some kind of clarity, to open oneself up to
the very challenges of the self and the great world beyond. To be liberated to be able to comprehend
everything else going on in the world when very little makes sense and disorder
and chaos become the norm…
They are backed up!
Back to back in lines
With forward facing side-wound eyes
Towards the inevitable
Distinct, dull, decibels of time
With that thick, heavy
Pall Mall of coarse rope
Swinging in the air with time;
Hang it boy!
Keep it Ringing!
Hold it steady,
Keep it true
Gathered here are all those before us
Hand in hand,
Until the Church
They all walk here and there
To and fro
Shadowy Walls of people
Their thin, translucent skin
By their extended passages of time
Looks upon the faces where fascinated strangers sit
With blank searching high-browed eyes
In the bleachers, the dug-outs, the celebrity boxes
Full cheeked with sandwiches, caviar, bubbles
With one eye
Cast behind them
Over silken shoulders
Towards the vast gruel of life
Hang it girl!
Hold it steady!
Past the slip roads
And the red light rooms
Hold it steady
Under the passage of the night
You are awakened by the abandoned
Promises of tomorrow