Artist of the Month: March 2018
1. How long have you been at Phoenix?
I think I've been at the Phoenix for 10 years. the late great Cyril Mount, who became a close friend, watched me painting a night painting in the park in front of St Peters church. He introduced himself then introduced me to the Phoenix.
2. What are you working on at the moment?
Currently I am finishing paintings that I started in India . Over the the last year I have painted all over India , Jodhpur, Delhi , Kolkata, Pondicherry and Kerala. I paint on the streets on small boards and have been finishing them in my studio.
3. Which media do you like to use?
I paint with oil but also make sculptures or installations using light like neon and LED
4. Which other artists do you admire?
I have always had a very eclectic taste in art, I've always loved paintings from being a young kid. I remember my dad putting up all these reproductions of paintings in about 1975 ( I was five) of Van Gogh 's sunflowers, a lovely Picasso blue period , Lowries, Renoir ( agh , classic seventies stuff .. Utrillo and Signac ... I used to stare at them for hours (we didn't have iPads then!). Maybe these paintings informed my early budding taste.
It's a tricky question... which artists you admire, they change with you, some go then come back ... I loved Monet, Sisley and Pissarro when I was 14 , then Vuillard, Bonnard and the Nabis, I then got heavily into Vincent, Rembrandt, and Turner when I got to art college , Joan Eardly and Richard Deibenkorn were big influences as well as the Light installation artist James Turrell amongst many others. Munch, Klimt, Rothko, Leonardo, these are a few famous names but I travel to many shows to see many more often quite obscure or less known artists.
Last year I was in Houston showing some work and visited the fabulous art galleries there. They had a lot of oil money at a point where they could buy large quantities of world heritage in the form of art. I went to the Rothko chapel, the Menil collection and the Museum of Fine Arts, there was a lot of American abstract expressionism on show that I have always been interested in. Strangely though I found it a bit thin and slightly self referential. I found myself being drawn to the Native American art, Inuit, Aztec or ancient Syrian and Greek... perhaps I am going off art that is made about art or with art in mind and more into things made from deeper place, I'll see something that makes me think differently next week though...
5. What would you recommend to go see?
I'd probably recommend how to see rather than what to see, most major galleries have great works of art but you need to be selective to know what the collection has and plan to see some specific pieces. Making great art requires energy. These creators put a lot in so a truly great painting is like a battery, a never ending battery. So there is an energy exchange when you engage with it, that's why you're tired after seeing a good show, conversely you feel fresh as a daisy after seeing a load of rubbish. All major galleries have great art but you don't want to exhaust yourself just going from one to the next. Go to the National and walk straight to the Rembrandt room , or straight to the Leonardo cartoon, or check out the blue behind the Doge by Bernini, take a right and go straight to the modern section, go to the Clore but go straight to the late Venice Turners ... you can apply this to any gallery, but always keep a side eye out for something you might stumble on, there's nothing like stumbling on something new...
6. Is there a piece of work you’re particularly proud of?
What am I proud of ? I made quite an interesting light (ganzfeld) ball where projected images seemed to appear in your min . I like the light wall that I made in the Phoenix gallery. I've made a fair number of paintings that I've been pleased with at the time including two large paintings looking down at a bazaar in Delhi which I've just completed for my upcoming show at the John Martin Gallery opening on the 7th of March, all welcome !