What are the major themes you pursue in your work?
My paintings are an exploration of memory. They offer glimpsed or half-remembered figures and faces – ‘re-imagined ancestors’ recovered from a personal archive of the forgotten. I like to work quickly using my hands as much as possible (as opposed to brushes), because that way I get a more expressive result, with the image emerging from complex layers of texture and colour.
What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
That an artist’s work must be his or her honest and sincere response to the world – no tricks.
Prefer to work with music or in silence?
I work with music. I try and match what I’m listening to the mood of the painting I’m working on, so today I’m listening to the piano music of Olivier Messiaen.
If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?
I guess it would have to be ‘Impression’ by Claude Monet. I can look at this painting for hours, plus it was such an epoch-making piece.
Who are your favourite writers?
Ernest Hemingway, Joseph Conrad, and Makepeace Thackeray.