Activism, Digital, Drawing, Mixed Media, Painting, Printmaking
Anglo-Welsh artist living and working in Bize-Minervois in the south of France. I have been drawing as long as I can remember. My grandfather was a shop steward for years in the Pilkingtons’ glassworks in St Helens, but after he retired he went to art school every day for 30 years. He died over 20 years ago, aged 99, still a communist, determined not to get a telegram from the queen.
He was and is my inspiration. I studied art and design for four years in the UK and subsequently exhibited throughout the UK and elsewhere in the world. My work has appeared in exhibitions all over the world – in Japan, Poland, France as well as the UK. Last year a picture of mine featured in the BBC TV show The One Show.
For the last 30 years I have worked in the UK’s charity sector, making a living for my family. 3 years ago we moved to France, and this year I have returned to full time painting, drawing and printmaking. Which turns out to be good timing since the Tory and LibDem bastards are destroying the public sector in the UK.
I live now with my family ( my wife and step-daughter plus a dog – Buffy, and 2 cats- Earnie and Milo) in a small house in the beautiful medieval village of Les Matelles. I paint in my atelier and am looking to develop services for artists – studio space, gallery space, giclée printing – as well as doing my own work, and selling stuff at galleries and markets. I still have to pay the rent and pay for my grown-up son who is at university in the UK.
I am inspired by the local environment here: the village is beautiful, the area is dominated by the mountain of Pic Saint Loup, which fascinates me because of its shape, size, the colours it turns in different light, the different dramatic shapes it has from different angles. Pic Saint Loup is geologically fascinating – a sharp peak that rises out of the plain of the Hérault to the north of Montpellier. The mountain was featured in Jacques Rivettes’ 2009 film: 36 vues du Pic Saint-Loup.
To get reference material and inspiration I drive around and round the mountain in my little MG Midget (often accompanied by my black labrador Buffy) taking photographs and making sketches as preparatory work for my pictures. And then I paint in my atelier, where for the first time in my life I am well equipped and have plenty of space. It’s a big cold shed.
I am also inspired by emotions, events, politics – my life, and music. I have always been politically active – another inheritance from my communist grandfather – and continue to be. Sometimes my art reflects this – sometimes it doesn’t. I feel no conflict – you can campaign against racism and enjoy a good view and a football match and a great soul song. Being alive is about experiencing things. Painting is part of life.