What are the major themes you pursue in your work?
I love to paint elegant women in beautiful clothes and in glamorous settings. I’m not really inspired by fashion per se, but rather more by the feel of the fashion from the past; the 1940s and ‘50s in particular have a classic, ageless beauty that is expressed by the fashions of the time.
I am influenced enormously by the elegant and beautiful fashion drawings by illustrators of that period, as well as contemporary fashion artists and illustrators working today. I love the playful, flirty, and romantic storytelling in the work of illustrators such as Rene Gruau and Andre-Edouard Marty to name but two. I am also currently playing with the idea that a piece of work can, at first, look like a successful abstract, and then slowly it becomes clear that it is a fashion painting. Saying that, I just love working with ink and paint and am more than happy to paint most subject matters.
What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
One of the best pieces of advice I received was at art school: ‘Convenience ruins creativity’. It was from a visiting tutor, whose name I can’t remember unfortunately, but she worked with the female form and her painting was free and fabulous! She taught us to push boundaries — I am now never satisfied and will always think that there are ways of improving my work, making it more interesting and exciting. Be wild. Remember that you can always tone things down.
Personally I think that drawing from life when you can is also essential, especially if your subject matter allows. I often work from imagination or photos, but I do tend to feel that one’s relationship with the subject matter is a lot deeper when working from a three dimensional model.
Prefer to work with music or in silence?
Silence or talk radio. I never have music on.
If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?
What a hard question, and I have no idea. I have just bought a whale painted by Benjamin Parker during a trip to Iceland (view his profile on Saatchi Art) last month. I put all sorts of things on my walls, but I think this was one of my first proper art purchases and I love it!
Who are your favorite writers?
I like crime writers at the moment; Hakan Nesser is my favourite.