"A teacher at primary school told me the secret to making good art is to really look. If you can learn how to look and pay attention and notice things - then you can make good art. I think that’s true.
And it’s not that daunting, is it? To look at something - see it, feel it and transcribe. Anyone can do that. You’ve just got to actually do it - persistently Be prepared to fail, learn, get better, be honest about what you’ve made, what worked, what didn’t and then do the next one. That’s the work and play of it.
So, my artistic story…
I went to Kingston to do a foundation course and try out lots of different practises and then went to Canterbury College of Art (Kent Institute of Art and Design now) and specialised in printmaking.
I love drawing and painting but there’s something about printmaking that makes you take chances – you can’t be perfect. The very process takes away some of your control – accidents happen very easily. And you are guessing what your print is going to look like, often working in a reverse image. It’s not until you ink up the plate and take a proof can you really see if it’s worked or not – there’s a magical surprise element. Ta dah!
There is some work pre-Cyprus that I’m pleased with but my real artistic journey, my real-life journey even, started there.
I specialised in printmaking at Canterbury and we had lots of facilities at the college and it was a structured course. Cyprus College of Art had no printmaking facilities and we were largely self-led. It was drawing and painting for me and I couldn’t even make a stretcher. I floundered. Stass Paraskos, the college director (who taught painting at Canterbury as well) helped me find my path and awoke my passion for making art. The other students helped me figure out how to make a stretcher.
Stass was passionate about art and he treated all the students as artists, with respect. He took us seriously so we started taking ourselves seriously. He took a child-like delight in art and the beauty of the world around him. What I most hear him say in my memory is ‘look at this, the colours are beautiful’ - about a work of art, a piece of pottery or a flowering shrub in an old oil drum. He was very alive, awake, inspiring.
Stass invited me to help him with a commissioned mural he was doing - Adam and Eve Before the Fall. It was delightful, delicious paint play in the sun and an absolute honour - I got inspired, encouraged and into a creative routine.
And then I got going with my own work.
In this website, I want to communicate my experience, share my adventures and see if they resonate with anyone else."