Saturday, June 4, 2011


Holding Jupiter 2011

What are you working on in your studio right now?

Currently my practice involves an ongoing series of paintings on linen canvas ranging from 50cms Square up to around 120cms in length. I am also building a series of mixed media drawings on A2 paper. This is an ongoing series that compiles sections of sketchbook drawings, collected photographs and ephemera. Outside of the studio I am working at my family home on three larger paintings on board, these measure approximately 175 x 110 cms.

Marvin, Oil on Canvas, 60 x 60cms, 2011

Can you describe your working routine?

Up until recently I have been working full time so my studio routine had to fit around that. I would work until 5.30 and then commute to the studio, arriving around 6.30 and working until around 10pm. More recently I have been fortunate enough to be able to work part time allowing me four free days. My studio is a fifteen-minute walk from home and has 24hour access so I don’t follow a particular routine, but like to spend at least two full days a week there.

Ideally I will arrive mid morning and work until the early evening. I like to keep at least 5 paintings on the go at all times. I’m working with oil paint so works are at all different stages, continuously changing and evolving, but there is no particular hierarchy or great order of things. I will be moving quickly between paintings, sometimes using a sketch or a photograph but often painting autonomously once I have recognized a starting point.

Outside of the studio I visit my family home in the Chiltern Hills, where I spend a great deal of time browsing through photographic archives which my mother has built up as well as a history of artworks and drawings which have been collected since my early childhood. It’s a great place to revisit certain events and memories whilst taking time to research, relax and take long walks.


Can you describe your studio space and how, if at all, that affects your work?

I moved into my studio about a year ago with a good friend of mine. The studio is located within a courtyard of other studios. The premise was originally a suitcase factory many years ago, and later the home of an antique dealer. We’re spent a great deal of time renovating and painting the space during which time we have found a hidden bath underneath a work surface, sets of crucible pots and various other hidden curiosities.

I share with five other creative practitioners now, there’s a lot of variety and we are slowly gaining a good sense of community. Previous to having a studio I was constrained to working on paper, with collage and digital print. My studio space enables me to do all of this whilst focusing predominantly on painting.

I am grateful to have a space where nothing has to be filed away; it has been difficult in the past when working within the constraints of a spare room in a house. A studio away from the house enables me to have sketches, photographs, paintings and resources on display creating a useful dialogue which I can engage with.
Aside from just being a place to concentrate on my artistic practice, the studio is a sociable place, located in a courtyard surrounded by many other active studios, it’s a place to play music, gather with friends, eat and relax.

 Rolph, Collaboration with Ben Cavers,
I phone drawing, dimensions variable, 2010

Tell me about your process, where things begin, how they evolve etc.

There is a layering process, which has become central to my practice, whether using paint, collage, pen or digital methods. I am just as interested in the hidden or obscured remnants of a painting as I am the new image which is constantly evolving. Usually any pre conceptions or ideals are lost throughout the painting process. I’m as equally interested in the failures of my paintings as the successes. In addition to painting I am constantly working on a series of A2 drawings, these begin from obsessive patterning, architectural designs and become large-scale doodles of shapes colour and lines. I always keep a sketch book and a biro with me, it’s important to develop a vocabulary of images, marks and lines which often become reference points in painted studies.

I read that David Hockney began using an I -phone application to create miniature paintings. I had been creating digital works on my computer over the past 2 years so it wasn’t so much a digital migration but offered me something portable to produce sketches on the go. The works are built up as the paintings are - from many layers flattened and scrubbed out. Similar painterly gestures emerge and in turn these transitional forms are adopted in my painting.

 El Torro , Pen, Pencil and Crayon on paper, 59 x 84 cms, 2011

What are you having the most trouble resolving?

How long a painting takes and when it is finished. There’s a lot of chance in painting and a lot of time spent waiting for the painting to take you in a new direction. I’d like more equilibrium between thought and chance. Identifying the limitations and strengths of materials is an ongoing investigation which I am engaged in, and testing how materials can be combined is often quite arduous.

Do you experiment with different materials a lot or do you prefer to work within certain parameters?

Primarily I want to paint, but the drawings, digital work and collage help to support and collate information. A lot of my work relies on discarded information, scraps and pieces from other disciplines. A sense of layering is omnipresent in my work and I am intrigued by the sculptural discovery and archaeology of these artworks. I am also conscious of the relationship of the ultra flat machined aesthetic of digital print and the ease of mechanical reproduction vs. traditional painting methods, authenticity and importance of painting in history.

Woolgatheriing, Oil on Board, 70 x 70 cms, 2010-2011

What does the future hold for this work?

Continuing working on a series of paintings on wood and canvas, a series of larger paintings and an ongoing compilation of drawing and digital images. More successes, more failures and surprises, more refinement but without a strict model or method to making paintings.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

It is often difficult to find out information about the creative processes, methods and routines of artists without approaching them. This blog allows openness between artists enabling for an insight into how artists operate, and in answering these questions I have been able to reflect on my practise and hopefully offer something back to the creative community

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