Magazine feature in the FLUX Review Issue 8

The FLUX review issue 8 - article and interview
I was featured in issue 8 of the excellent FLUX review magazine, issue 8 which was released at the beginning of 2023.

It includes several works and a full interview and - it's great to be in such a high quality printed magazine, especially in these days of digital everything.

You can view using the online edition to the left, view it at the FLUX review website here  or download it as a PDF here
Read The Interview here...
Can you tell our readers about Transformations the book you have recently published?

The 'Transformations' book started off as a catalogue for a solo exhibition I held in an East London gallery in the summer of 2021 and it evolved into a retrospective of my work, up until that point. The book is self designed & features 273 full colour pages of artwork, close up details and text outlining each series and project, including my thought process and working methods. It was an interesting experience to chart my journey through the work itself, from early digital works through to abstracted landscapes and figurative works in oil.

As a self-taught artist you have loved creativity from an early age. Can you tell us about your journey from being a fan of Asterix books to the artist you are today?

Ha ha yep, I always loved those Asterix books and still read them occasionally now ! When I was a kid I also avidly read Marvel comics and would spend hours drawing and copying superheroes. Drawing was my first passion, followed by music when I hit my teenage years. I became a pretty good guitarist playing in many bands and line ups. Everyone seemed to be in a band back then. At the end of the 80’s the acid house scene in the UK, ushered in a new wave of music which carried the DIY principles of punk forward and during a very hedonistic and chaotic phase in my early twenties, I fronted a three piece band that gained a large following on the London indie and club circuit. Towards the end of the 90’s, with the emerging digital technologies I started collaging images for posters and flyers for various gigs and events. This led to creating digital graphics, logos and designing websites in an industry that was still in its infancy.

These digital design skills formed the foundation of a career that would become my main source of income for the next two decades and became the catalyst for my first pieces of digital art, experimenting with filtering, collaging and layering images, and eventually using a digital pen & tablet for illustrations and graphics.

I didn't start painting until I was in my early 40's, around 15 years ago now, and used the same experimental approach. What can I do with this medium, what can I create, what happens if I do this or that ? I found the freedom in oil paint very liberating. I was no longer clicking, shifting, or holding down the alternate key, I was just doing whatever I wanted with this fluid material.

I have found the medium that is used to create work, dictates the end result. A pencil drawing will be different from a digital work, and painting in oils seems to have endless possibilities.

You explore themes of metamorphosis and transformation can you explain a bit about these and what it is that inspires you?

I'm fascinated how natural processes were described by ancient societies in their mythological stories, which in turn had many tales of metamorphosis. Esoteric, paganistic and nature based belief systems also heavily feature animal- human deities, and there is something in the imagery and symbolism that I'm drawn to and like to reference in my own work. We can see in the evolution of the natural world that the planet itself has been through many transformations.

Human nature also evolves, (even though quite often that does not seem the case!), but the truth is, societies, civilisations and consciousness do evolve - eventually. These processes can be viewed as a form of metamorphosis, which in turn is a transformation of one state into another.

There is a symbolism in many of your creations how important is this to you and how would you like the viewers’ to perceive your work?

We are living in the Anthropocene Epoch, an unofficial unit of geologic time, used to describe the most recent period in Earth’s history when human activity started to have a significant impact on the planet’s climate and ecosystems. Much of my work reflects this symbolically, whether through human / animal anthropomorphism, the synthesis of artificial intelligence and technology into contemporary consciousness and the boundless energy of nature to recreate itself, represented through abstracted landscapes. Rather than explain every work to the viewer I would hope that there is a certain amount of mystery, something that can spark a larger conversation or discussion and I would hope the symbolism serves as a catalyst for this.

As well as oil painting and drawing you are a prolific digital artist. Can you tell us about your series Metamorphica and The Danse Macabre and also Spacetours 3000?

The digital work requires a great deal of patience and by making the original line drawing very detailed, I can build the texture, light and shade, creating the illusion of a 3 dimensional figure. Each space within the intricate lines of the drawing is individually filled with varying colours, from light to dark in tone, a bit like a stained glass window. It’s a very time consuming process, but the only way I can achieve the dynamic quality of the final piece.

The “Metamorphica and Danse Macabre” series was inspired by an interest in mythology and symbolism. I had been thinking about if these anthropomorphic personifications existed, how would they look in today’s world ? I wanted the works to be very contemporary, rather than go for a sword wielding fantasy art style, so I dressed them in today’s fashion, gave some of them cool methods of transportation and completed the works with a sun /moon symbol background.

Following on from the “Metamorphica & Danse Macabre” series I created a retro science fiction inspired series: “Spacetours 3000”, where human explorers jet pack around other planets, like some gigantic galactic safari park, journeying into outer space, meeting the strange inhabitants of a universe teeming with life.

What are you currently working on and do you have any exhibitions planned?

I have recently moved studios, so I am getting back to creating some new work this autumn. I will be working on some new oil paintings that further investigate the relationship between technology and nature, some new pencil drawings and may even add some new work to the digital series - time permitting of course. I'm looking to exhibit again in 2023, although have nothing planned at the moment. I'm on the lookout to collaborate with a gallery or find a suitable space to put on something special. Possibly something immersive including music (Kinetic Alchemy - available on Spotify & Apple Music etc) and projections - it would be cool to plunge visitors into a universe of my own making - let's see what happens...