"I have brushes made from Aztec symbols, from fish bones, from floorboards. It’s such a powerful tool - I like the freedom of it"
My work is usually quite dark and surreal in content, although often with a psychedelic, vibrant colour palette. I like that juxtaposition. I am a fan of The Cure and The Smiths, and am fascinated by how both of these bands used jolly, upbeat, feel good tunes to deliver dark or sombre lyrics. This contrast is an inspiration to my visual art - I rarely work without music, it informs the whole rhythm and mood of my art. Sometimes the whole composition of a piece of work can be based on a mental picture formed while listening to music.
A theme I’m particularly interested in is the idea of consciousness and perception of reality; Shamanism, philosophy, physics and alchemy all influence the visual aesthetic of my art. Chaos also features heavily and I try to harness it wherever possible. Serendipity, the happy accident principle, is never far away either. I start with an initial concept for each piece, they then evolve and change organically throughout the creative process.
Enigmatic Certainty is a layered mixture of photo manipulation and texture, coupled with digital painting. It is from a recent series of work that focuses on the darker side of the human condition; themes such as addiction serve as inspiration. The series is ongoing, I want to have about a dozen portraits in all. I’m then hoping to exhibit the work as a collection.
I use a lot of photography in my work and my images are built up through a layering process that utilises painting, drawing and collage skills to knit it all together into the rich, textured result. Sometimes I create hybrid pieces that are a direct combination of traditional and digital. I am looking to experiment with screen printing from digital to produce a series of pieces using another hybrid process.
Photoshop is the main tool I use for my digital work, the only limit to its digital painting engine is your imagination. Many of my brushes are created from scanned or photographed real paint marks that are then manipulated and converted into custom digital brushes. I have brushes made from Aztec symbols, from fish bones, from floorboards. It’s such a powerful tool - I like the freedom of it. That quick snapshot of an interestingly textured paving slab could become my most prized brush.
Most recently I have been fortunate enough to illustrate a full chapter of a graphic novel - released later this year - alongside some of my childhood heroes, which is very exciting. I am also working on a personal graphic novel project that will be set in Nottingham City and Sherwood Forest, but not as we know it... It’s in the very early development stages but is taking shape - I’m aiming to possibly run a Kickstarter project to fund the creation of the book, so watch this space...
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