If our imaginations are real, then is what we imagine real? If our senses are real, then is what we perceive through these senses real? If my perception contradicts my beliefs about what is real, which should I trust? These questions are strong currents running through all of my work and indeed, my life.
My role as an artist is to explore the limits of ‘consensual reality’ and try to communicate both the internal visions of my mind’s eye, and my mind’s interpretation of the external world. The first artists were also shamans and I strongly believe that my role is to explore the unseen world as well as filter the ‘seen’ world through my own personality and experience. When I work, I enter another realm where time and language seem to fade and the constraints of ‘reality’ fall away.
My very first memories are of my early childhood in Singapore-intense smells, colours, sounds, tastes-and South-east Asia have been in my blood ever since. On the other hand, I grew up in Yorkshire where the woods and hills are full of spirits and this has also profoundly influenced my art.
My work is therefore less representational and more impressionistic, sometimes purely imaginative. I am not interested in trying to replicate ‘surface’ reality – I admire the ability of photography to do this – but rather I seek to capture what is beneath the surface of what I see in the ‘real’ world.
I enjoy painting in acrylics because of their versatility. They allow me to paint quickly but also pay attention to detail and create some of the effects that oils can achieve. I enjoy the bright, sharp modern colours and finish which reminds me a lot of comic-book art, pop art as well as some types of Asian art such as temple paintings, Japanese woodcuts and manga.
I also love using ink. When I sketch, I prefer to draw directly in ink as it forces me to be bold and capture the essence of a scene or vision, unlike pencil sketches which can easily be erased and adjusted. Drawing in ink forces me to get straight to the point and often creates more impact in the final result.