Interview (abridged) with Jimon Magazine February 2019
Where did you grow up, and where do you live currently?
I was born and raised in the suburbs of London. I lived in Barcelona for most of my twenties, subsequently Ghent and back to London (Archway) where I’ve been living for the last decade.
Did you have any official training for art?
Yes, Edinburgh College of Art (BA Painting) and Winchester School of Art (MA European Fine Art).
How long have you been making art and what lead you to start?
I decided to be an artist when I was sixteen on the basis that it was what I seemed to do best. I’ve been ‘making art’ since that point I suppose.
What is the source behind your paintings, where do they come from?
The classic approach: take a pail to fetid swamp of psyche, dunk it in and see what gets dredged up. The particular process I use for this is collage. I combine and recombine random images which engage me until they resonate in a certain way. The results, give or take formal tweaking, compositional adjustments etc. – represent a fairly direct line to one’s subconscious. Mind you, I’m not an expert in these things.
What advice would you give putative collectors?
Trust your instinct, unless you have shit instinct.
How did you acquire your style?
Trial and error. But if there’s such a thing as style it should be transient and certainly not an end in itself. Actually I’ve never thought in terms of style.
Have you ever come across a piece of art that you could not or did not want to stop looking at?
Certainly: Bacon’s ‘3 Studies for a Crucifixion’, Velaquez’s ‘A Dwarf Holding a Tome on His Lap’, Rembrandt’s ‘Portrait of Margaretha de Geer’, Constable’s ‘Haywain’, Gericault’s ‘Portrait of a Woman Suffering from Obsessive Envy’ amongst many other equally obvious ones!
What influences you as an artist?
Other artists. Not necessarily just visual ones. Example; the albums Tom Waits made in the late 70s evoke worlds aurally which I would love to create visually. He often uses ‘found’ instruments to create odd and compelling sounds that convey better than ‘conventional’ instruments the essence of the song. I would like to try and do something similar by combining abstraction with collage, stencil, screen-printed photos, spray paint to create convincing self contained worlds. Cinema is very important too. I would love to convey the melancholy and violence of Sam Peckinpah’s Pat Garret and Billy the Kid’ in a painting. Still working on that one.
What kinds of art hang on the walls of your home?
How do you describe success as an artist?
I suppose there are 3 categories – how you rate yourself, how your peers rate you and how the market rates you. Of the 3 I think how your peers rate you is the most objective and therefore the best gauge of success.
Do you have a place/person/thing that you visit for inspiration?
Name three things you can’t live without in your studio?
Coffee, noise reducing headphones, Miles Davis in his mid 70s voodoo period.
If you could have dinner with 3 artists living/dead who would be at your table?
Bacon, Velazquez, Crumb.