Boxhead, acrylic paint and watercolour pencil on canvas, 80 x 80 cm, 2018
Boxhead is based on a digital construction: shots taken of the marks and detritus found on daily walks around London combined with a shot of my sone with a cardboard box on his head taken at around the same time.
My paintings are about choice – what to discard, what to keep, which accidents to allow to happen – and which to lose. The preparatory images find a new purpose for the accidental marks and discarded objects (the traces of human activity) I discover wandering the city with my camera. These I paint and use as a backdrop to further painted improvisations.
Like a slow diary
Compositions begin as photographs of paint marks, scrapes, stains and discarded objects and portraits of strangers. These elements are combined using photo-editing software; the process is one of instinctive accretion and deletion (one which leaves its own marks – glitches, electronic “ghosting” etc). The resulting photographic image is used as a “preliminary drawing” for a painting on canvas.
Why are you painting?
The use of materials in my work is calculated. The paintings are made with workaday marks (like the whitewashes and graffiti cover-ups I am quoting), but the intention behind the composition is to imbue the paintings with the immediacy of advertising posters.
What’s that in the background?
My work is influenced by 1980s poster art, Brian Eno, The Fall, Thee Oh Sees, concrete flyovers, discarded carrier bags, 1950s Bible Story illustrations, Graham Sutherland, limp ham sandwiches, lies, Malcolm Morley, hopeless politicians and Peter Lanyon.
The work originates from a need to interact with the city visually. I am looking to create a space that doesn’t exist – one that is disorientating but familiar, attractive and ugly, one that expresses loss and invents something new with what’s been left behind.
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