Tell me a little bit about you!
I’m from Newcastle and I have a studio there, it’s dirt cheap and there’s a good art scene.
When did you first discover art, or realize you wanted to make it yourself?
I used to draw all the time when I was a kid. My grandad used to draw with me, he was good at doing side profiles of Native Americans in full headdress smoking a peace pipe.
What is your process like?
I often work on different bodies of work at the same time, conceptually and visually they can differ quite a bit. I have this metaphor to try and describe my working practice.
In the movie ‘Jaws’ barrels are fired at the shark to draw it to the surface.
“He can’t go down with three barrels on him, not with three he can’t” – Quint, Jaws, 1975
When I have an idea, it’s like I put it into in an imaginary barrel and push it away, try to forget about it. Later it pops up again and I think about the idea more, change it, add to it and put it back in the barrel and push it away again. Over time I’ve got loads of different ideas in different barrels, all at various stages of development. When one pops up and I think the idea is strong enough, or the time is right, then I start making the object/painting/thing. Sometimes two or three barrels pop up around the same time and I work on them simultaneously.
More recently though, I just write the ideas in my phone.
What is your studio like?
I’m at NewBridge Project in Newcastle, my studio is a mess at the moment.
What do you find most challenging, challenging, or frustrating about pursuing art?
Not having the money, time or space to make the things I really want to make. Mostly it’s the not having the money part, I’ve got the time and space covered to be honest with you.
If you could sit down for dinner or a drink with anyone, who would it be and what would you chat about?
Jack Nicholson. I would just let him do the talking.
What are three words you would use to describe your work?
I don’t know.
What do you do when you find yourself in a creative rut?
Have a look in one of the barrels. (or the notes in my phone)
What do you need or value most as an artist?
What keeps you creating?
No idea. I honestly wish it was in my temperament to do a 9-5 job and be content with going out for a Nando’s and a film at the weekend.
What are you working on right now?
Two different things…
Firstly I wanted to make a 3D representation of the social and political divide in the UK. This work is a series of life-size figures with speech bubbles. The quotes in the speech bubbles are lifted directly from art & culture comments sections in online newspapers. Things like ‘Nice colours’ ‘what a load of shit’ and ‘can somebody tell me why this is good?’. A cross section of different opinions, to represent the divide, but also that thing of people aching to have their voice heard. I always hear people saying that politicians don’t represent them, I think most people would say that about art and artists too.
I really like this work because you can change the context of it so easily. If you have a room full of figures all saying nice things then the work references the echo chamber nature of social media and algorithms. If theres one figure in a group show with other peoples artwork in it then it becomes a direct comment about art. And if theres a mix of figures shown together saying both positive and negative things, the work becomes more about this divide, socially and politically. I’m pretty excited about making and showing these.
I’m also making big weird paintings of this character I invented called ‘The Great Assassin’.
I’ll leave it at that for now.
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