Finding Beauty in the Mundane
Who influences you graphically?
Edward Hopper, Charles Steeler, Antonio Sant’Elia, Richard Serra, Lois Dodd, Alex Katz, Landon Metz, Luc Tuymans, Peter Doig, David Hockey, Richard Diebenkorn, Brian Alfred, Milton Avery, Andrew Wyeth, Antony Gormley, Casper David Frederich, Daniel Rich, Norman Ackroyd, Georgia O’keef, Werner Knaupp, I know this is a long list, I could go on and on, the awareness of other artists should not be underrated.
What influenced the change in work from early 2013 to now, in terms of style colour and medium?
During the period between then and now I have become a more honest painter. There were times a few years ago when I would find myself (not always) taking my mark making too far, trying to create the most ascetically “artistic” work I could. I have since cleaned up my work, making sure that every mark I make has intention and purpose. One thing that has not changed is the subject matter I am attracted to, I always seek to, through my own interpretation, cast an image of a reality.
To what extent does the art of the sketch liberate a scenery compared to the more refined paintings?
In terms of inclusivity of the observer? A sketch differs to a refined painting in that, a refined painting is absolute, it is what it is and the viewer must accept that. A sketch could be as simple as a few lines, the purpose of a sketch is for the artist alone, however for an observer the sketch could mean an infinite amount of things, they have the power in their minds to move those few lines around and build the image in their heads for themselves. They could then imagine how that sketch would become the refined painting giving themselves a much more involved experience. I always enjoy seeing the process artists make going from sketch to final image and the steps it took them to arrive at their outcome.
What role does colour hold for you?
Colour is very important, however when I paint I seem to disregard its importance. I make a quick decision on a colour and stick with it. Perhaps there is some subconscious part of me that chooses the colours for a reason, Ive always believed I choose them because I simply like how they look and I have a good eye for co ordination. I do believe there is logic to colour theory and Kandinsky ideas on it fascinate me, although it is ironic that my work is predominantly painted in blue, a colour associated with the supernatural, and most of my subject mater is based on man-made objects and firmly rooted in reality.
Do the figures in your sketches stand alone or are they the expression of a surrounding we cannot perceive? Throughout most of your work these don’t seem to have an identity, why so and what do their forms shape from?
As soon as a figure has a face, it becomes a portrait of somebody, this is not why I paint so many figures, it was not their identity that made me want to paint them, it was the form, composition and the feeling that I got when I saw them. The people in my work are usually strangers or friends who were unknowingly captured, for all intents and purposes I could paint statues, It would make no difference, if they gave me a strong enough feeling when I look at them. With some of my figures I do completely isolate them, if they are the subject matter, why does there need to be surroundings?, However if the location had an importance to the narrative or emotion I felt when capturing the figure I will include it. It is all about importance in my work, keep the things that matter and disregard the obsolete. As I was saying early, this is how I have become a more honest painter.
What role does and did architecture play in the your work?
It plays a huge roll, I don’t pretend to be an expert on architecture. I simply enjoy capturing it. I suppose it is the fact that architecture can do things and create forms that nature cant, it provides ample amounts of source material. It is the reasoning and decision making that are so important to my work, what makes that suburban house so much more special than the one next to it?. I grew up in Bath UK, a city famed for its buildings, never whilst I lived there was I motivated to paint any of it. It was a beautiful place, but that was exactly it, I try to find the beauty in the prosaic, the mundane, the everyday. If we look hard enough it is always there. I now live in New York City and often take trips around the state and surrounding states. On a trip perhaps there is a building with just the right amount of light on it, and even though its pretty much a box with a triangular roof on top of it, if it sparked enough of an emotion inside of me to think about it then I will stop to photograph it. When I look back at the photograph, I will be reminded of the feeling and the elements of it that were important to me at the time, at that moment it invoked an idea in my mind, and I try to communicate that through paint. The building or structure has already been built and is serving the purpose the designer had for it, I then take it and turn it into something different, the function has been removed, it is now to me a recording, not only of itself but of an emotion.