Interview done for Art By Artists

Recently I was contacted by Stan from Art by Artists and he asked if I would answer some questions about myself and my art, I agreed and he emailed the questions over.

Below is a copy of the questions and my answers or if you would like to hear my recorded questions and answers set by Stan to some images please click on the Interview link

  1. What’s your background?  I was born and raised in Kenya in East Africa, and subsequently lived in Swaziland and worked in South Africa.  I now live in UK but still have very strong ties to the African continent.
  2. How does this impact how you see the world and create art?  Visually in Africa, the colours are vivid the light extreme, along with the amazing space, the heat and dust and the animals.  The people wear wonderful bright clothes and there is always music, even with poverty and lack of facilities the mood is uplifting.  My art and how I create it and how I see the world, completely reflects this and not the rather subdued “green” colours of the British landscape.
  3. Did your upbringing prompt a specific reference point within your work? Is your work informed by certain concepts or themes from your childhood, background, socio-economic status, and where you lived or were raised?  I am not a conceptual artist, I don’t have an agenda, expect perhaps to try, and produce excitement and joy in people when they see texture or colours or a composition in my work that they love and resonates with them.  I paint because I love the physicality of moving paint around and trying different mixes of colours with other colours to get them to “zing” and to surprise myself and not produce the same painting again.
  4. Who are your biggest influences?  My first and biggest influence is Mark Rothko, my mum and I were in New York and were lucky enough to go to the Guggenheim and the whole gallery was Rothko, we started at the top having never heard of this artist and by the time we got to the bottom we were both completely in love with his work.  Later on, artists like Peter Lanyon, Sandra Blow, Francis Bacon, Van Gogh all have a big influence.
  5. What are you focussing on right now?  My main subject matter will always be “outside”, whether the landscape wherever I am, or the harbours and outdoor sea pools in Cornwall, or in the Derbyshire Hills, or in my garden.  My latest work is revolving around the use of repetition as in repeating the same mark or the same colour and making it interesting and different.
  6. What is the biggest challenge of being an artist?  Belief in yourself and your work, it is very easy to doubt what you do, especially if your work is not easily defined.
  7. What advice would you give to your younger self?  Practise more, enjoy it more, worry less about what other people think.  Also have more courage to paint over stuff that is not working.
  8. Have you ever tried any unconventional mediums or techniques?  Working with mixed media, one of the most unconventional techniques I have used is burning glue on paper, this gives a gorgeous effect, providing you don’t get too carried away and burn a hole in the paper or set fire to it completely.
  9. Do you listen to music or have any other type of background noise while you work, or do you prefer complete silence?  Most definitely I have my iPod on random shuffle which means one minute some rock music and another maybe a bit of opera, generally song that I can sing along to and even a bit of boogie.
  10. What’s the best reaction someone has had to your artwork?  Having a very respected and well know artist “loving” a new piece of mine, colour and mark marking.
  11. What do you hope people take away from your artwork?  Joy, – a visual feast, almost comparable to eating a melting chocolate brownie.