The crazy thing about life is how it can lead you down an inescapable path…..
Choosing at 18 to follow to follow the ostensibly more sensible academic path and study for an Aerospace Engineering degree, only delayed the inevitable. Ironically the next decade in industry prepared me far better for what I do now, than continuing down the art college route would have done too. As it panned out it meant that several years later when teaching myself how to paint again with some business experience behind me, that I could learn and develop my style un-pressured to gradually build up to the sole focus it’s become now, of being my passion, way of life and livelihood all in one. Painting at weekends as a break from software brand development my first gallery solo show was in 2008, and I thought I was balancing things pretty well. However, since focusing on painting full time early 2010, it all went a little nuts….
The passion I didn’t try to ignore was in sport, and especially motorsport. Celebrating everything that I’m a fan of in the world quickly became my thing – no matter how niche some subjects may be. That doesn’t shortcut to the ‘never have to work a day in your life’ thing – but damn sure it means never having to search for inspiration or motivation. About 2/3rds of my work is motorsport related, celebrating the emotions, heroes and history of sport in partnership with teams, sponsors and F1 themselves. The rest… features anything I love, icons of film, my childhood, music and sport.
Creatively my sole aim is for visual impact and dynamic. Striving to make paintings look as explosive and 3D as possible and statues look like they want to move – several techniques combining for the end result. Every painting is large scale and around 2cm thick oils in places (yes, I get through a fair amount of the stuff), usually on board for a completely flat background so that the texture of the subject really comes out at you. Using home-made neon paint too which really is a visual slap in the face, and with a team of incredible photographers so we can closely reproduce the effect for limited editions.
Always trying to push the boundaries… I’m continually experimenting with new techniques and materials, trying to bridge the gap between painting and sculpture. Working with the most prestigious bronze foundry in the world in recent years has opened possibilities far greater than I could possibly have imagined…. there really is no such thing as a crazy idea any more, which in itself is the most inspiring and empowering thing if you truly embrace it. A lifelong sportsman… many of my ‘eureka moments’ come on hours stuck inside my own head out on the bike. Others from the oft completely random brainstorming over dinner or hiking with the Mrs (and PA) Ashley.
I love the challenge of creating, especially tricky commissions when I’m asked to paint an image perhaps I wouldn’t have chosen myself. I’m naturally competitive, I guess from my background in sport – and for sure a big part of the enjoyment for me is constantly having to re-think, battling to bring a piece alive. I always have the vision of what the finished piece is, that comes quick – the challenge from there especially with sculpture is to make that vision a reality, no matter what the technical constraints. Where the engineering mindset comes back in I guess. I love the PR and brand partnership side of things just as much – and why to date, I manage that side of things myself.
Published by Wishbone Art with galleries covering the UK, and represented worldwide with F1Authentics.
In the last few years I’ve created commissioned work for Instituto Ayrton Senna, McLaren, Bruno Mars, Lewis Hamilton, Chelsea FC, The Rugby Players Association, Team Sky, Jenson Button, Max Chilton, Sir Alex Ferguson, Theo Paphitis, James Hunts family, Sir Bradley Wiggins, Red Bull, Pirelli, Monster Energy, CBS Television, Jake Humphrey, Wretch32 and JLS’s Aston, among many others…. and partnered with galleries, charitable organisations, leading rights holders and motorsport teams worldwide.
Featured globally in every F1 Paddock Club, on the boulevard at McLaren MTC, The Tour of Britain, Playboy Club London, Selfridges Oxford St, Harrods, CNN, Goodwood Festival of Speed ITV4 show, Channel News Asia, Chelsea FC TV… and a gallery near you. Patron to Its In The Bag (Testicular Cancer Awareness) and regular fundraiser for Cancer Research UK, NSPCC, Rugby Players Association, Clic Sargent and GOSH
To be honest… subject matter isn’t really a choice. It’s just… me.
I mean, F1 has been a passion for as long as I can remember… a marriage of my background in competitive sport and studying Aerospace Engineering at University perhaps. All I watched as a sprog was Star Wars – the only VHS we had I reckon! My 10th birthday was a cinema trip to see Empire Strikes Back, and I now have a movie accurate Stormtrooper in my TV room. I credit the basis of my creativity to literally decades messing with Lego. I spent my formative years dreaming of being a pro cyclist, and I’m for sure proud to be British. There we have the vast majority of my subject matter over recent years!
My ’80’s Kid’ solo shows explore this concept even deeper… 28 artworks now created over the last 5 years covering most everything I grew up with, played with, broke, idolised or was scared by. The 2nd edition of this show touring UK galleries through 2020.
All this makes occasions like running around Star Wars film sets, F1 garages and the Team Sky bus and being able to actually call it ‘work’, a little mind blowing. Being a fan and creating artwork of everything that I love in the world has bizarrely come full circle.
Yes… I guess it’s also ‘lucky’ that the above happen to work commercially. But then, maybe that just means that I’m not that weird after all! I just create what I would want on the wall, which makes subject choice, PR, marketing and just plain old talking to people about what I’m doing really straight forward. It’s just… me. And makes it pretty bewildering sometimes how this has now become day to day life. It’s so difficult not to be a fan boy when working with your own personal heroes!
As for style of painting, thats been kind of a natural progression too. I’ve never read a text book, no formal lessons since 16 when they told me to aim for engineering instead as no one ever makes any money from art. My ‘first piece back’ aged 29 was a simple abstract…. but still has splats and thick texture. From there it’s been continual development, mostly just by practice, learning from trial and error. I rarely look at other artists work… I’d rather not be swayed by what others are doing. But I’ll always be thinking, experimenting different ways to do things from a structural and material perspective… let alone being allowed to play (sculpt…) using the drivers actual race suits and helmets for the most authentic DNA… how on earth is that ‘work’!?
And then there’s you guys…a constant source of inspiration and proof that I’m on the right track. To be honest… I’ve no firm plan of where I’m going. Just… forwards. And I’m so loving the journey.