Since my early teens, when I discovered the work of Juan Gris the Cubist, who made his still lifes with torn and cut segments of French newspapers and bits of frayed wine label, I have been fascinated by collage.
My earliest portraits were made with fragments of paper of one sort or another. Nowadays I still work with slivers from magazines, wrapping paper, newspaper, catalogues, packaging, junkmail – and in fact anything from the deluge of paper that fills our lives. I make commissioned portraits, still lifes, and more abstract pieces, using a variety of materials.
The materials I use are very much “found” or “lighted upon” in the spirit of Kurt Schwitters and the Surrealists. If there is any kind of philosophy behind what I do, it is the appeal of the idea that a still life or a landscape or something as formal and prescribed as a portrait, can be rendered with random pieces of printed paper – that a chaos of re-cycled scraps can be ordered to either represent something specific, or used more metaphorically, to evoke scenes, moods or ideas.
Much of my work is inspired by the coastal landscape of North Cornwall. The Polly Joke abstracts are a series of pictures made from re-cycled canvas, sand and debris found on Polly Joke beach near Crantock.
Using photographic reference and drawings, I am currently working on a series of paintings and collages that explore the themes of memory and childhood, and that are inspired by recollections of holidays and time spent by the sea in the South West of England.