Quick piece I painted in Winnersh today. One and a half cans of paint and painted in about one and a half hours.
Here’s an interview I did with Amy Watson of Mongoos Magazine when I was painting a mural in Brick Lane a couple of months ago…
Do you have a way of defining your own work?
I like to just call myself an artist because I’m inspired by quite a lot of different art forms. When I first started I was probably going under the name ‘graffiti artist’ but then sometimes I’d work as an illustrator or painting murals so ‘artist’ sort of just works.
That’s a good point - it could perhaps limit you slightly if you define and market yourself as something very specific, it could make the work quite contrived.
Yeah, people instantly have an idea of what you’re trying to put yourself across as if you do that. Maybe a genre is only necessary until someone’s seen your art and then it shouldn’t really matter anymore. That way you don’t limit yourself to a certain audience either. I’ve done a lot of kid’s stuff and more grown-up ‘arty’ stuff as well, so hopefully all different kinds of people look at my work and appreciate it in a different way.
I loved the ‘Pizza’ canvas on your website. Where does your inspiration come from?
It’s hard to say really. A lot of it comes from doodling and then evolving the doodle into something different. Sometimes there’s an idea behind it and sometimes I don’t know where it comes from. I suppose it’s my take on a still life. I do a lot of people-watching and I’m influenced by lots of things around me; I try not to take too much influence from other artists.
Well, your work’s not like anything I’ve ever seen before!
That’s good news! I look at quite a lot of different styles so my work is quite diverse. I like a lot of street art and I look at a lot of aboriginal and tribal art work as well in terms of mark making, flowing lines and that kind of thing.
When did you start?
My first exhibition was about eight years ago, but I’ve been doing it full time for about three and a half years now. I’ve always been drawing.
Did you find that you started doodling and drawing naturally from a very young age?
I don’t think I did, I didn’t do Art at GCSE or anything like that. I don’t think I wanted to be an artist when I was younger – when I look back at it now I can see that I was always scribbling and stuff but I never really thought anything of it. I used to doodle on all the borders of my textbooks at school.
You mentioned that you take inspiration from people-watching and so on. How does that transfer into your art, as people don’t necessarily look like that in real life?
In my head they do! No, I think it’s just expressions of what they look like. I try to do a bit of sketching when I’m looking at people and then take it on a few times away from the original drawing. More like the expressions than the actual shapes and characters. Kind of like caricatures I suppose.
Does your work have any kind of narrative?
There isn’t loads of narrative behind it – none of the characters have got names or anything like that. I don’t think it’s something I want to pursue either. There are some characters that pop up now and again though.
Do you have any current exhibitions?
Well this year I’m doing a touring solo exhibition. I’m trying to get my work into places I’ve never shown before. Aldershot, Winchester, I’m doing one in North London, Eversham, Shoreham By Sea and Birmingham as well. I’ll be moving around a lot, most of the exhibitions will be a week, maybe two weeks or a month. So hopefully throughout this year I’ll get my work seen by a lot of people.
Have you ever looked at doing anything abroad?
I’ve done a few things abroad, a few live painting sessions across Europe. That’s quite good fun.
So people watch you work, is that intimidating or does it help?
I’ve got my back to them so it’s not too bad! It can help actually though, yeah – particularly with drawing inspiration from what’s going on around you. It’s quite useful. I’ve done live painting in Barcelona, Tignes in France, I was there for a week or so, and Stockholm as well, I did an exhibition there. It went down really well in Barcelona as it’s got a really positive art scene. I spent quite a while at Park Guell.
Yeah, I can see an element of mosaic in your work….
I would like to do that actually – and people have also said to me I could try doing a stained glass window, maybe I’ll collaborate with someone who has that skill already.
That could work really well, particularly with the colours you use. Your art would look great as jigsaw too. And in picture books, maybe Mr. Men-esque ones!
The jigsaws would be really difficult! I have spoken to a company about doing picture books. Again, I’d probably collaborate with someone who could work on the narrative side of things and I’d do the pictures.
Do you have any qualms about people reading into your work, and do you have any agendas within your art?
No, as long as they enjoy looking at it. I think I prefer my work to appeal to people who don’t normally look at art. But there’s no political agenda or anything like that. I think people could take it that way, power in numbers and that kind of thing, but that sort of reading would be quite vague. I have actually looked at lots of photos of riots and that kind of thing though just to get some composition ideas. The energy of a lot of people together is something that interests me. There’s no real political or religious agenda though, it’s just about making people happy, it’s all quite positive. I suppose another vague reading could be a collective consciousness.A lot of it, without trying to sound pretentious, is trying not to be involved in the art work, it’s just whatever pops into your head at the time.
It’s interesting what you said about preferring your art to be seen by people who aren’t necessarily ‘into art’. Why is that?
I think they’re the ones who need it the most. And I do stuff like public murals and hope people will see that and it’ll brighten up their day. It’s cool having things in galleries but I think if your work is always somewhere where the people who see it are the people who always look at art, then it can lose something, in a way.
Headphones in and soaking up the sun painting on my own this morning. Nothing better. Painted in about 2 hours at Southampton Common. Fill on the last character by the (already tagged) piece I went over.
my wallpaper collaboration with Graham & Brown is available now!
Part of the ‘New Wave’ collection, curated by Barbara Chandler and also featured in their children’s pattern book.
£26 a roll from: www.grahambrown.com/uk/product/70-248/alien-crowd-multi-c…
My touring solo exhibition ‘The Way I See Things’ is now at its second stop, The Link Gallery in Winchester.
Based at the University of Winchester and open to the public, the exhibition spans 2 floors and is open from 3rd March - 7th April.
For more information see The Link Gallery’s website.
Here’s a mural I painted last week for Movebubble in their office in Shoreditch, London.
The brief was a cityscape made of landmark buildings from across the world, above a London Underground scene.
Painted with Posca marker pens and emulsion.
My solo exhibition at West End Centre, Aldershot, Hampshire. On daily until the end of February, free entry and suitable for all ages. For more info see: http://www3.hants.gov.uk/westendcentre/westend-exhibitions.htm
Big thanks to Artfinder for including me in their top 10 artists of 2013!