'Man tries to make himself – in the way that suits him best – a simplified and intelligible picture of the world; he then tries to some extent to substitute this cosmos of his for the world of experience, and thus to overcome it. This is what the painter, the poet, the speculative philosopher, and the natural scientist do, each in his own fashion.'
The longer I paint – and all right, I’m only 26 – the more purely intuitive the process becomes. The images are inside my head, born of the interaction between my subjective being and environment. All of the old devices of the painter, plein-air easels, sketchbooks, reference photography, studied draughtsmanship, are neither relevant nor necessary. Perhaps what I do might be compared to some highly orchestrated form of Zen. Colour, the language of pigment, is all-important. I work quickly and spontaneously, each image a product of stored feeling and experience.
What all of my painting has in common is an overriding sense of the multiple forces and effects of nature (as anyone even slightly afflicted with claustrophobia could hardly fail to notice!). But none of this can be taken for granted: as a species we have reached the crossroads between survival and annihilation. Which way to we go, and more bleakly, is it in any case too late to make a choice? Such is the raw and extraordinary beauty of our planet – of nature itself – that there can be only one, positive response. We have to get our priorities right, and that takes imagination, and art can help. Art, like science, has grave responsibilities and I like to think that, where art is concerned, the tide has turned away from nihilism and ‘shock’ towards a greater understanding and appreciation of the sheer value and wonder of life.
Since the question is always asked, I can say that the painters whose work I most enjoy include Robert and Sonia Delaunay, Paul Nash, Emil Nolde and – the later – Georges Braque. They are, in their very different ways, kindred spirits, no more, no less. I also see that I’ve used the word ‘enjoy’ and that is the right choice. Art, like being alive, should be enjoyed – and true enjoyment demands respect and concern for everything we encounter. Crisis makes conservationists of us all.
I have an MA in Fine Art from Kent Institute of Art & Design
BA (hons) Fine Art Painting from Winchester School of Art
I'm currently working on a number of new abstract paintings for an exhibition later this year.