What have you been doing during the lockdown?
I thought I’d be slowing down due during the lockdown but surprisingly I’ve been quite the opposite, I’ve been crazy busy. (Which I’m certainly not complaining about).
I got myself a new studio early February - just around the corner to where I live - and moved all my screenprinting and painting stuff in there. Really happy I did too, as it’s been the driving force of what has been keeping me busy. Recently I’ve been producing lots of small screenprints of my collections which seems to be very popular.
What inspired you to get into art?
I’ve always been in and around art. At an early age, all I ever wanted to become was an animator. Sadly that dream was dashed pretty quickly as there weren’t many opportunities in Australia, where I grew up, at that time. I devoted all my time to drawing but the direction of my career, after a false start as an animator, got diverted to design where I spent the next 25+ years. I got (back) into art by accident about 4-5 years ago after I moved out from London to where I am now living. My wife and I were looking at art to fill the blank wall space that we had in our new house. However, the art I/we liked came at a price and our budget just didn’t cut it so my wife suggested ‘why don’t I create something’ … this spurred me on to creating my debuting piece “Rich Enough to be Batman” which remains to this day my best selling piece. Quite a nice way to accidentally create an art career for myself.
You like to tell a story through your art. Where do you draw inspiration from when you are struggling to come up with ideas and how do you transfer that onto canvas?
Storytelling is a major part of my work. Most of the work I create is connected to socio-political themes. It’s difficult to explain the process and where I get my inspiration. I guess it involves reading or witnessing, something that frustrates me or gets me upset or angry. I digest it and let it sit for a while, then try to rationalise it in another way until I get some clarity on how I can express it into something I can communicate via my art.
The important ingredient of venting anger is by turning it into something humorous. It is an old advertising technique, and an important step, as no one reacts favourably to anger and angst. Humour has a way of disarming people, so once you have their attention the trick is to load the work with subversive ideas that play with peoples minds and gets them thinking. I think this is why so many people like Banksy’s work, as it does exactly this.
If you could have one piece of art in your home what would it be?
If I had the space and money I would own The Rose (V) by Cy Twombly which I saw last in the flesh at The Broad Gallery (https://www.thebroad.org/art/cy-twombly/rose-v) in LA. It just had me staring at it in awe for ages.
If you could collaborate with one artist who would it be?
I’m not really sure- haven’t thought a great deal about it. I did recently do a collaboration with my friend and business partner Rugman which also manifested into a t-shirt print.
That was fun!
How do you like to spend your downtime?
I don’t think of what I do as a “job”. For most people art is what you do in your downtime, I guess that’s how I look at it. The benefit of that is I get paid to do it!
“Work" is parenting and household stuff. That’s when I have to act like an adult and there's no fun in that!