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Fuck It – I’m doing It My Way

March 1, 2013


I think I will always struggle with the content of my work because perceptions and environmental conditions change over time as of course we do in being shaped by our lives. In my own circumstances I have been forced into addressing areas that are often quite ugly and this really started with the death of my sister in 1992 at the hands of her partner. When horrible things happen you can’t ignore them you just have to deal with them because they don’t go away. But they affect you deeply and alter your perceptions dramatically stealing your innocence and exposing you to a latent ugliness that is ever-present. In my own life it has created a huge dichotomy between good (beautiful) and bad (ugliness) and this essence of opposites has become quite a preoccupation that makes me jump into different modes of expression. I call it keeping it real where I try to maintain an honest balance that reflects the truth of living. I notice from observation of behaviour often quite close to me that people often appear to wear a metaphorical mask, how they present themselves to the world which is often quite different to who they really are. The bright congenial side masking a torrent of suppressed thought and this really interests me because it actually happens in your artistic output so I try to redress this balance by varying the content of my work and it’s working for me. This dichotomous angle on life has been a factor in my existence since the age of 8 when I moved from Edinburgh to a small village in Yorkshire, I grew up in a middle class home yet lived on a working class estate and thus became a piggy in the middle. I kind of resented the superficial politeness of middle class society and found it to be a bore but enjoyed the educational side and conversely I enjoyed the reality and rawness of working class life but hated the lack of education. So it was this position of not really fitting into any camp that set me apart in my thinking and really why I became an artist, a kind of maverick away from the herd. It is an interesting perspective on life and one I enjoy immensely because it constantly fuels your curiosity and creativity as art really happens out of the decision-making of opposing concepts. I know that may sound complex but on a simple level every stroke of paint or application of clay on a piece of art is the result of a decision that is selected from two or more options. At the moment a lifetime of knowledge is flowing into my work and everything is coming together and making sense, I’m proud of who I am and what I have tried to do but as always it’s a work in progress and there is much to be done. It’s funny but I always feel a sense of vulnerability with my work, because of this there is no real rest you always know you can do better, that there is more in the tank and it is this that stops you resting on your laurels and keeps you driving on. In that sense I live in the present as my work exposes who I am at a given moment of time and when my output is substandard that is how I feel which often leads me on a desperate chase to come up with something interesting or face disappointment. 😉




Over the last couple of years I have consciously broadened my whole approach to art, I had worked myself into a corner and felt the need to extend my horizons. It felt brave at the time as I started with the deconstruction of my work, exposing internal forms and the eventual mutilation of many pieces, it was not only symbolic but also an artistic gesture where the content of my work took on a new relevance. I was turning my back on the dedicated approach that I had adhered to for over twenty years much to the shock and horror of many people who new me, but I had to do it and I have. I’ve lost the support of a few close to me but gained more from others around the world who have offered support and encouragement that has been invaluable for me in this transition (and there’s a big thank you for that). This transition has taught me a lot and the big lesson is having the courage to go with your convictions regardless of  the pressures placed upon you, because once you commit the road is once again open. I now find myself in a position where I feel free to explore whatever I want and post my ideas openly without fear and that is liberating. I am once again my own governor and that feels so good, I don’t take the responsibility lightly either for there is too much at stake and I don’t intend to gamble my life’s work on superficial speculation. It is substance that I am looking for so, no gimmicks, no selling out, no showing off, just work to reflect my own experience of being as I explore my sensory perceptions to the full.

At the moment I walk about six miles a day and I get a little bit of thinking time and ideas are starting to appear in my thoughts that I would have discounted in the past, but I have now taken to drawing these out because they are relevant to me and who I am. It is by using all the random thoughts and chance encounters along with your gathered wisdom that you are able to construct and conceptualize your true existence and turn it into your art and I really mean your art as a true expression. At the moment I am discounting the idea of the finished work and the subsequent reactions from third parties because I am trying to make true art and I use the word trying because it is almost impossible to declutter your mind of all the engrained baggage, but you can get pretty close. These are exiting times for me, the superficiality of the arts industry has lost its allure and I once again have the conviction to plough on in a meaningful  way.















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