graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1989, at a time of
Thatcherism, Poll Tax riots, and the birth of the YBA phenomenon. My
work engaged with the spirit of the times, and drew from the youthful
aggression and buzz at the time. My degree show coincided with
Thatcher’s 10th anniversary and was an ironic take on monetarism,
nuclear proliferation and yuppie excesses. We seem to find ourselves in
a remarkably similar cultural and economic situation now.
My work is, and has been based on pop art in the 1960’s, and its
re-emergence 1990 onwards. I draw inspiration from the works of Andy
Warhol, Peter Blake, Duane Hanson, Jeff Koons, and the German poster
artist Klaus Staeck, the Chapmans, Banksy and Shepard Fairey.
Like the old masters of the 60’s, I plunder and borrow icon imagery and
ideas. I reconstruct them in the form of paintings, 3-D works, and
photographs. I purposefully choose imagery to provoke strong responses
in the viewer. I often use “low art” iconography such as religious
kitsch, tattoo and street art. I contrast creepy and uncomfortable
imagery, such as clowns, guns and bombs with classic fabrics, golden
backgrounds and art historical references. As ideas and icons
find their way into my work, I layer images and their meanings into new
combinations of visual and contextual significance.
I use paints, fabrics and other media to perform specific tasks related
to their meaning, using painted texture, tone, brushstrokes, as well as
industrial, high gloss surfaces, and metallic finishes. However,
I don’t challenge the tradition of producing paintings or sculpture. My
intention is to communicate meaning within the traditional confines of
work hanging on walls and standing on floors.
I have a long-standing interest in art history, recently in Renaissance
and pre-Renaissance work, and the manner it combines meaning and
symbolism with observational realistic painting. I spend many hours in
the National Gallery as well as visiting major exhibitions of
Magritte’s and Delvaux’s works in Brussels, the medieval section at the
Städtische Museum, Frankfurt, studying religious iconography, the works
of the Breughels, Bosch, Cranach. This has extended my original
starting point of pop by adding another layer of meaning and reference.