Back in the 1970’s my childhood was mainly spent squirreled away in my bedroom drawing the various characters who inhabited my comics. My desire to go to art college was firmly curtailed by the fact that I left school with a rebellious streak and zero qualifications. It's not big and it's not clever but school and I just didn't get on. It was all a bit like Kes... but without the kestrel.
In the early 1980’s I bought myself a copy of ‘Sign work – A Craftsman’s Manual’ by Bill Stewart and proceeded to teach myself sign writing. After spending a while honing my craft I began a new chapter in my life as a sign writer and muralist. Unfortunately, all good things come to end and, with the onset of computerized vinyl lettering, the days of the traditional sign writer were numbered.
Fast forward many years and, although still occasionally feeding the urge to create art, I now had more important things to feed, namely children. I embarked upon a new business venture with my wife. After years of serious graft things were looking ok.
Naturally the fickle hand of fate is always ready to give you a good clout when you least expect it and so it did when my wife died suddenly at just 50 years old.
No need to dwell on the devastation that this caused but, suffice to say, it was during this time that I decided life was indeed too short and I was going to spend the rest of my days doing what I loved, namely painting. I sold my business, set-up a studio at home and shut the door on the rest of the world.
Paint, eat, sleep, repeat became my life.
My early work was very much a throwback to my sign writing days with paintings in a pop art style and containing graphic elements and carefully crafted lettering. This eventually gave way to the style we now see as I freed myself from the regimentation of sign writing into art that was far looser and less reliant on perfection and straight lines and precise perspective. I have a great admiration for many artists and in particular the works of Carel Weight, Joan Eardley, Gerard Dillon and Simon Quadrat to name but a few. Such wonderful and inspirational artists.
The most important thing for me as a painter is to try and create work with real narrative and meaning. Paintings that connect with the viewer on an emotional level.