Thoughts on my Work

My work is about the world around me and the world inside my head and hands.  As such there is no overarching theme - whether it be to do with light or colour or weight or wood or some particular thematic enquiry. My art is intimate, reticent, reluctant even. It is a battle between exposure and self-effacement, humility and ambition, confidence and despair, just getting up each day and getting on with it.


It is about transformation - for example, that a piece of wood can go through the chaos of my working methods and all the intermediate stages of apparent destruction and emerge with some sense of integrity, presence. Beauty even. It is about seeing, experiencing and yearning in our world in its particular time with its particular limitations, tragedies and potentials.


It is about refusing to be bamboozled by theories and fads and markets and high priests declaiming 'the way' and yet being vaguely aware of them all in their infuriating presence.  The art, as such, is an extension of me and waits to be eased or torn away from me by you the viewer, the appreciator, the critic, the buyer, the arbiter.


It's taken me a while to find the time to focus on making sculpture and drawing. I studied as a part-time mature student at Sheffield Hallam University and Falmouth College of Arts in the 1990s. And I've had more or less intensive periods of artistic activity. But other things have proved more pressing and it is only recently I've got myself sorted with a studio or workshop.


The sculptural experiments and pieces on this site are a record of my on/off engagement with three dimensional work that stretches back to early days in Art School and my attempts to sustain a practice since then.   They say that in the art world, as in most worlds, persistence pays and a friend is convinced that once accumulated the 10,000 hours will suffice to make me a 'sculptor'.


For the last few years I've been working in wood with hand tools. There's an old phrase that 'a carver is a starver' - working as a sculptor with wood is a slow and painstaking process. In essence, its about making a large piece of wood smaller in increasingly small steps and hoping there is something at the end that justifies the immense effort.


In these days of rapid proto-typing with Computer Aided Design and 3D printing techniques struggling with a piece of wood using hand tools may seem quaint and arcane, romantic even and somehow flying in the face of progress.  But I don't see myself as a 'back to the woods' kind of artistic survivalist. 


Maybe the way I work is more an acceptance of the resources I can access and control - were there a hot shot sculptor's workshop around the corner with the latest machinery and facilities I'd be there like a shot. I admire and envy (and wish dark thoughts against ha ha) those artists who have somehow made the leap into output on an industrial scale with their spacious factory-workshops, their army of assistants and coterie of gallerypersons and agents.  That seems to be the way the art market works with its insatiable need for celebrity artists, collectors and connoiseurs.


After all it is a capitalist world we live in.  And without significant capital the artist and craftsperson is restricted largely to what they can make with their own hands and physical and mental effort.


(TBC - Feb 2013).

To Drawings/Watercolours

Studio in East Kent, 2012
Studio in East Kent, 2012