I went to art school in Scotland in the early 1980’s. Since the 90’s my work has focused on outdoor environments (See my first painting). I want to share the experience of being outside in places ranging from urban cosiness to extreme wilderness. I suppose I am a Romantic, in that my work seeks out the sublime. Mind you, I seem to be able to find the sublime in the shadows across a dumpster in an alley as easily as at the top of a mountain.
I taught at university for a while. Youthful students would throw together paintings of skulls and daggers, sculptures made from razor wire or a kangaroo corpse. They made them, I suppose, to come to terms with the brutality that we often have to face as adults. Some works had a precocious charm. More often they were trite and intellectualised (or conceptualised) in a way that undermined any visceral component.
Once, after a succession of particularly dreary assignment responses I got the class together. “Guys, there’s enough ugly sh*t out there without artists adding to it. Have a go at making something beautiful,” I said.
I guess that could be my artist’s statement in a nutshell.
It’s difficult… well, I find it difficult, to talk about the reasons for making art. Talking about materials and techniques is pretty safe ground. Talking about the reasons for paintings is much more tricky. I worry that talking about art dissipates some of the energy that could be used to make art. Plus, I remember a tutor when I was studying who once said “art’s about doing it, not bloody talking about it.”
So I hope that you’ll find these posts refreshingly honest, and free of the sort of exclusive newspeak yackety-yack that fills the art media.
Get yourself a cup of tea and settle in.