Can you tell me a little bit about you?
I’m your normal bloke, just I love making art. Playing sports, fast cars, eating as healthy as I can, playing games of pool with my mates over a few beers, massive lover of cats, visiting art galleries with my mum, I value my own personal time as much as I do my career, I think it’s important to have balance. My family have always supported me in whatever I do, they’ve been amazing, I wouldn’t be where I am, doing what I’m doing without their love and backing. I didn’t come from an artistic family as such or with a great financial backing to support what I wanted to do. Times have been hard. I’ve always worked for what I’ve wanted, posting papers at 13, pulling pints, washing dishes, and its continued throughout my time at University where really, I should have put all my time into my art. But it’s the sacrifice we have to make to do what we value the most, to me, that’s making art.
When did you first discover art, or realize you wanted to make it yourself?
It’s a cliché but it’s always been there. In my early childhood I spent a lot of the time living and being brought up by my grandparents, while my mother worked in the day and studied in the evening. I didn’t have friends’ round after school or sleepovers and things like that while I was with them. I’d go back to my grandparents and doodle, gory beasts, boats and trains, everything really. T.V wasn’t a big thing in the house, I’d make things to go up on the fridge door. So, I’d say it’s just continued on, still having fun, drawing, playing about with paint.
What do you like most about working where you do?
Cornwall is the dream, although others may think there’s not a lot down here, you’d be surprised. It’s a unique with a peculiar and vibrant art scene, a huge amount of history down here with Barbara Hepworth, Peter Lanyon and many more, it’s still fresh and upcoming again, with the likes of Sam Basset, Arthur Lanyon, Tim Shaw and lots of fresh talent coming out of Falmouth Uni. But for me it’s not the art scene, It’s the pace of life, it feels like it’s going in slow motion, but to me that feels like a normal pace. Where else in England can you sip wine on the beach and do sketches of the locals. It hasn’t got the hustle and bustle that Cities do, Its relaxing.
What ideas are you exploring in your practice?
There’s not really a theory, its making art for myself. It’s just taking the world in and spitting it back out through the paint.
Has your practice changed in the last months/years? If so, in what way? Why do you think that is?
I’ve sort of stopped taking into consideration what others think, being in University you’d always be influenced by the artists surrounding you but having a studio to yourself you don’t swirl up those conversations, it’s quite lonely if I’m honest. So, you spend all the time about what you want the painting to be. It’s become a lot more personal, my personal battles and issues come into it a lot more now than they did a year ago.
What is your process like?
For me, my art is an ongoing conversation between myself and the canvas, using the paint as a vessel for dialect. It starts with a preliminary idea or sketch of someone in the street, a passer-by or an image of a friend. Through the process of painting the image wobbles and changes, the paint can take over and the original idea has moved on, like that of a chat between friends. Also taking conversations, spoken words, sort of eaves dropping on my surroundings, which slip into the works as well as personal thoughts and motifs behind the painting. Sometimes more than a single sketch can be brought into the work, 4 to 5 at a time which are sewn together through the medium of paint, like that of a patchwork quilt to make the painting. Sometimes glimpses of other ideas can be bought into to give the first idea a renovation.
Is there any subject or theme you’ve been particularly interested in lately?
A lot of the figures in the works have missing limbs and body parts, it’s a representation of an absence in my life, a problem, a daily struggle which now, as I mature, I’m starting to understand and convey these feelings through the paint.
Do you have a day job or other work that you split your time between?
I don’t know how artists can afford to keep a roof over their head as well as paint without a job/income. It’s a costly thing to do. I stack shelves in a supermarket a few days a week. I think it’s important to stay grounded. It makes me appreciate my time in the studio even more. But it’s good, a lot of the conversations and imagery can derive from being in work, old couples shopping together, a child having a tantrum, a teenager not wanting to be spotted with their parents.
Do you have a mentor, or a piece of advice (or both), which has influenced your practice?
‘keep your work honest and fuck the haters’ – I was given this after finishing uni from a previous graduate and good friend. It’s true, make work for yourself, it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t sell and not everyone enjoys in, as long as you do, that’s the best bit. It’s just a huge bonus if others around you appreciate it too.
Is there any piece of advice you would offer to others?
Exactly the same advice that I was given, keep your work honest to yourself and enjoy it. Art is a massive struggle, a lot of hard and challenging times, with the works themselves and also mentally but don’t hide from it, accept it and ride it, the good times will follow, hopefully. Also support one another, art is a community, don’t hold anyone back. Motivate one another, share opportunities amongst yourselves, it’s nice to think that maybe one day you could be showing in a gallery somewhere in the world and you could be hanging your artwork next to your friends.
What is your studio like?
I’ve been very lucky to grab a studio where I am, I share with a close friend who does pottery, she has the floor space, I’ve taken up all the walls. It’s got stunning views of Godrevy Beach on the North Coast of Cornwall, idyllic pink sunsets. It’s a complete mess, wouldn’t change a thing other than the costs.
How significant has attending art school been on your practice?
Falmouth University was such a dreamy time, there’s so many courses which just inspire you to make work, you get wrapped up in it and want to make the work the best it can be. A highlight of it for me was the technician’s, always putting the students first, staying on after hours to help us young artists, they’ve taught me so much. But equally important was my Foundation Year in South Wales, I was blessed to have Brendan Burns as a tutor, who taught me the independency of an artist and how to stretch my first canvas. I didn’t get the highest grade during my time at foundation. I was a little taken back by it with all the work I put in. Brendon made me realise that there’s more for me to do, push my boundaries of art, not to level out and to constantly progress, change things up, don’t play it safe. It’s true. I’m trying to carry that on throughout my artistic career.
What do you find most daunting, challenging, or frustrating about pursuing art?
It’s not safe, there’s no solid income. There are times where there’s nothing lined up regarding shows and bits, a lot of stress, self-doubt, pressure. But they all keep me alive. It’s like you’re being hung, your feet could just about touch the floor and survive, but at the same time, that could be the end of you.
How would you define “success” in art?
I guess success is what other people say you are, I don’t think you can say you’re doing successfully. I certainly wouldn’t say I’m successful. It’s nice others being interested in your work and attending your shows, gives you a motivation to strive. Being dead helps, if you can do art all your life and die doing it, that could be a success.
What is the most exciting thing you’ve done or accomplished so far, related to your work?
Exhibiting in Newlyn Art Gallery has been up there so far, such a prestigious Gallery space with the likes of Danny Fox, Rose Wylie, Sam Bassett, Lucy Stein and many more to have shown there. It’s a gorgeous space with sea views and a wonderful team that does all the organising, curation and management of it all.
What are you working on right now?
A few things in the pipeline upcoming, a solo show at Gallery 95 in Switzerland is coming in October, then I’ve got some things heading over to New York and some bits coming up in London in the new year, it’s an exciting time, a lot of work to do. As well as art, I’m working on my-self-love, that’s equally important to me.
Anything else you would like to add?
I’d just like to thank the public and supporters. It means the world to hear feedback and kind-hearted comments, It can be a struggle on the daily, and having someone share your work or message you in appreciate of the work can make the day. Cheers.