So read the headline from the local newspaper. I was six years old and had just won a painting competition out of all the primary schools in Hampshire. That statement is as true today as it was 44 yrs ago. I have been an artist all my life in one form or another and what a wonderful journey it has taken me on.
After 6th form I found myself in Portsmouth Art College embracing all that the Foundation course had to throw at me. I dabbled in Jewelry making for my BTEC before entering feet first into the world of Sculpture. I was fortunate enough to land a position at the prestigious Edward Lawrence Studios in Midhurst where I served my apprenticeship working on anything from Henry Moore Sculptures to being part of a small team working on the largest bronze sculpture in the world. Keen to explore the wider world I became a Rockscaper, creating large environmental landscapes in concrete all across the UK. Time to refocus and spend a bit of time back in academia where I put my foot into the waters of a BEd for Primary school specialising in Art and Dance and then moving onto a BA in combined arts. Life had other big moves for me- enter my future wife who being half Australian and half English took me down under to the land of Oz soon after we got married. Australia was a stunning new canvas and Rachel and I set up our creative arts company and toured across the amazing landscape of Oz.
After this antipodean adventure it was time to reconnect with the cultural melting pot of Europe and so we returned and continued with our creative arts company touring schools with bespoke shows of art, music and drama. Time now to get really serious as Rachel was ready to go it solo in her own singer-songwriter career while I had that “I’m turning 40 moment, what shall I do with the rest of my life”. Well, creating art was going to be a huge part of it but I wanted to engage with my growing social conscience and so I founded the community arts charity People Around Here. This enabled me to use my artistic skills along with my music to reach children, young people and older members of struggling communities and use the arts to educate, enable and inspire them.
Along side the work for the charity I continued to explore my own creative journey and had many successful art shows and exhibitions of original work. The work always focused on the human form and mostly the head. I was fascinated by the miracle of being able to move some lines and colour around a canvass and create not only the likeness of someone but to be able to show something of their personality, of their emotional make up and to even be able to glimpse their hopes and dreams. So enveloping and consuming is the process of engaging with a face and exploring who is inside those eyes and what they are saying with their smile.
This love of portraiture was catalyzed in a most profound way when in 2012 Rachel and I had a beautiful baby girl. I was captivated from the first and took to drawing her at every opportunity. I loved the way I would keep seeing traces of both myself, and my wife in her face. I was entranced by the way her face changed so quickly and her features developed as she grew into the unique, amazing and dynamic girl that she is still becoming.