I use historical styles to explore contemporary themes in my paintings. Ordinary things become enchanted and come adrift, allowing new possibilities to appear. I depict moments when people become absorbed in looking, in galleries and in art classes.
Other work of mine engages with gender. From 1995 to 2005, I was involved with a group of London artists working in various media who, in the wake of feminism, were looking for ways in which men might find liberation too. We used paintings, sculpture, film, installation and performances to explore how we had been conditioned as men and boys and to enable us to envisage future possibilities.
For sometime now, in workshops and in paintings, I have been involved in copying. “I am at my most original when copying the work of others” said Picasso. There is rich treasure of creativity held within this paradox. It’s not about creating fakes. It’s about trying try to get under the surface of images and to understand the works of art we admire. In doing so, we can become more aware of our unique voice: a voice we hear more clearly when we stop searching for originality.
Having worked as a volunteer in a homeless hostel for a number of years, I wanted to use my art to help the community in some way. Ideas came to me when I read these words in Matthews Gospel: “For I was a stranger and you welcomed me in.” Simple, powerful words that have a resonance for me and call forth images.
After my Fine Art degree at Kingston Polytechnic, I won a British Council Scholarship to Spain where I stayed painting and writing for two years. My career has been teaching in art schools. I set up the Fine Art Mixed Media, BA Hons. course at Westminster University in 1993. I was Director of Research at Cambridge School of Art in Anglia Ruskin University from 2004 to 2014 when I retired.