Where are you from?
I hail from the suburbs of Essex, UK. Just down the road from where Grayson Perry is from. I never spotted him wandering around the local shops in his dress though. That would have been awesome.
What attracted you to the collage process?
I enjoy the challenge…I can be sifting through old books and magazines for hours when suddenly a few images will leap out and I have a piece of art! It’s exciting when contrasting images somehow work together and a new story unfolds in front of me.Collage allows me to explore lots of ideas relatively quickly. Although for me it’s not so important which medium is used…if it’s a painting, a photo or drawing – it’s all about the final image and the message it conveys. I’m working on a series of paintings based on my collages at the moment.
What sort of materials do you collect images from?
Old books, photographs and magazines chanced upon in second hand shops… I’ve attempted to use images found on the Internet, but it’s not the same. I prefer my source material to be taken from the real world, and assembled by hand rather than on Photoshop. Our whole lives seem to be based around computers now, my artwork is an attempt to escape virtual reality. Until I post it online that is!
What themes do you pursue?
It’s changing all the time. A few months ago it was quite politically motivated. I like comparing cultural differences a lot in my work. More recently the work has become more surreal and dream like. I think I needed some escapism for a while.
How many years as an artist?
From childhood I’ve always drawn, made things from cardboard, painted and haven’t stopped.
My whole desk is like a sketchbook really – I surround myself with cut outs and material and see what happens. It’s chaotic and probably not the best system.I do also keep a small sketchbook at the side of my bed that I jot down ideas in, usually when I’m just drifting off to sleep. I get my most creative ideas when I’m almost dreaming…they are just scribbles, cuttings and mad ramblings but it’s useful to keep a record – although my handwriting at that time of night is almost illegible.
Most important tool you use?
Scalpel, and band aids for when I accidentally slice the tips of my fingers off.
Comic sans? So bad it’s good…
Where is your studio?
I’ve just converted my garage into a room and have claimed it as my studio…although my kids want it for their play room, so I may be evicted soon.
There’s a cafe in Brighton which makes sandwiches with unusual fillings…One of my favourites is a fish finger sandwich with chilli jam, cheese and rocket. Classy! It sounds repulsive but try it, you will never look back trust me.
No. Could never decide on what to have.
iTunes or records?
Spotify. Although I have approximately 500 records in my loft I just can’t part with.
Favorite cuss word?
I enjoy most cuss words and use them on a regular basis.
Succulents or Cigarettes?Succulents.
Everyone has a vice. Care to call yourself out?
I’m really a clean living guy. I do listen to too much jazz music sometimes.
What’s around the corner from your place?
A field with some cows.
Favorite place to ‘get away’?
Hove seafront on a stormy day.
Prefer to work with music or in silence?
Music. I need to hear Jazz all day every day in order to function. Charles Mingus is the man.
Where can we find you outside the studio?
In a pub in Lewes or Brighton enjoying a pint of ale or going for a long walk in the countryside.
Favorite contemporary artist?
Peter Doig, his work at the Triumph of Painting exhibition got me back into painting. Incredible vast pieces. Lovely. Mislav Tichy is great too. He used crazy looking homemade cameras to take thousands of surreptitious photos of people. Sounds creepy but the photographs are beautiful. They have an ethereal quality that I haven’t seen in photography before, a bit like Doig’s paintings I suppose.
What could you not do without?
Coffee, art and music…specifically jazz music.
On occasion I attempt to make an honest living as a freelance graphic designer.
Concept or Process?
Concept is important…it gives the work substance rather than just looking ‘nice’.
Would you rather be able to make a living as an artist now or become famous after you die?
Famous after I die. Being an artist is all about leaving your mark after you kick the bucket.
Going deaf or going blind?
Deaf….I have tinnitus after spending my youth in various bands and going to clubs. Wear earplugs kids!
If you couldn’t be an artist, what would you do?
If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?
Oddly, the first thing that springs to mind is Peter Blake’s collage for the 1984 ‘Band Aid’ record sleeve. I remember being fascinated by that as a kid and was probably the first art I’d been into. I’d love to own the original.
Oil paint and turpentine.
What was the uncomfortable situation you have ever survived?
Being chased by a large dog when I was 9.
Why do you make art?
Not sure, I just do. It’s like a habit I can’t kick. It’s therapeutic and enables me to get my ideas out there.
Art School or Self-taught?
Art school, my tutors Chris Stevens and Carole Windham were so supportive… I’m still in contact with them after 15 years.
What do you collect?
Guitars, I seem to have 6 of them now. It’s ridiculous.
Which living or dead artist would you most like to meet?
Robert Rauschenberg. He had a natural sense of how to balance juxtaposed images.
Food or Sleep?
Sleep. I like dreaming. It’s creative and surreal.
Getting second place in the Saatchi showdown competition and having my art displayed in the Saatchi gallery… I’m blown away about it. It’s been great to get my work seen by lots of eyeballs via the website.
How cleanly do you work?
My working practice is totally chaotic. There’s paper and glue all over the place and I’m constantly losing things.
Do you have any trinkets or photos of friends in your studio?
A photo of my kids, and a painting of me by my 6 year old son. He wants to be an artist!
Were you popular in high school?
Not particularly, I was a bit of a geek.
Astrology or Astronomy?
Astronomy. I bought my son a telescope recently. But secretly it was for me. Space is such an abstract concept I love to refer to it in my work. Thinking about it puts everyday problems and issues into perspective.
Religion or Pop Culture?
I try to not get involved in either. I lose interest in most pop culture post 1965.
Couch surf or hotel?
Too old for couch surfing. Hotel.
Would you rather see your art on a t-shirt or on a billboard?
Billboard. I’ve been toying with the idea of collaging over some Billboard adverts. But the logistics and the possibility of getting arrested puts me off doing it. Banksy wouldn’t approve of my attitude would he?