Read on to learn more about my work, or watch this short video by film maker Sarah Lewis: Click here for video
All my life I’ve been fascinated by the way things work, how they’re made, fit together and come apart. I always wanted to understand the structure of things and then make stuff myself. Eventually I became an engineer and for some years designed printing machines and later equipment for disabled children. Long before that - from about age 10 to 16 - I was into photography: image making, but also the mechanics of it - cameras, lenses, light, film and the wonderful chemistry of the “darkroom” which barely exists any more. I also used to draw weird pictures of space ships, people and other stuff I can’t remember now.
In my 20s I did more drawing and became interested in art, especially painting. Perhaps it was the influence of my Spanish studies, looking at the strange imagery of Goya, El Greco, Zurbaran. I wanted to understand how they achieved the effects that they create with colour, texture, form and particularly space and composition. What makes a painting work? What are the mechanics of it? So I set out to learn, not just by reading, studying and looking at art but by doing it myself: trial and error; a lot of both!
This was all in my spare time while I was busy studying and working as a chef (the mechanics of food!) and then as an engineer. So progress was rather sporadic, but in between painting sessions I was often thinking about art, reading about it, visiting exhibitions and trying to understand it. Around 1999/2000 I shared a studio on Eel Pie Island in Twickenham and sold some paintings from there.
In 2014 the opportunity arose to quit the day job and dedicate myself to painting, nearly 20 years after I first picked up a brush as an adult. Since then, in a spirit of experimentation, I have tried out a lot of different things. My studio is like a laboratory of image creation. There’s a range of different styles of work here, but there is a common thread to them all: they are all about the mechanics of painting. They explore ways of looking at the world, often borrowing structures from digital technology. The aim is to create new and surprising images with their own unique presence in the world. Each gallery presents and explains a different approach to structuring a painting. Each image is accompanied by an explanation which may help you to understand it, and paintings by other artists as well.