Collect Art magazine article7 February 2023
I was fortunate to be included in the 17th volume of Collect Art’s magazine, a special edition featuring twenty-five artists’ sketches and drawings. We were all asked more or less the same questions and it’s fascinating seeing the common threads and the differences. The work in the magazine is really wonderful, too.
Just in case you’re interested, here are my answers to the questions I was asked.
Where are you from and how does that affect your work?
I live by the sea in Dorset in the south of England. I’m surrounded by light, water, open space and beautiful countryside. All of that inspires what I draw and how I draw it.
What is your background?
I did a lot of drawing when I was a child but was told at school that I worked too slowly to be able to continue to study art. I do work very slowly! Instead I became a maths teacher. After a change of career a few years ago I decided to take my drawing seriously again.
Why did you choose to be an artist?
I don’t think you choose to be an artist. Being creative is part of what it is to be human and everyone is an artist in one way or another. For me, that way is by drawing because I just love making marks on paper with pencil.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by the work of other artists, particularly those who are able to express lots of ideas with very few lines, something I find difficult. But mostly I’m inspired by where I live, by the sea, the light and the sky, and by the people in my life who I love. I try to bring those elements into all my drawing, from landscapes to portraits.
Name the artist or artists you’d like to be compared to, and why?
I’m not interested in being compared to anyone. Everyone makes their own art in their own way and it’s all beautiful in and of itself.
What is the hardest part of creating for you?
I keep an ideas folder and it currently has 128 ideas in it. It would take me a lifetime to get through all those and I’m adding to it all the time. So deciding what to work on next is always quite traumatic. And funnily enough, when I do start a new drawing it’s usually something that isn’t even in that folder.
What is the role of an artist in society?
Art is a mirror for society. It reflects the best and the worst of us. The best artists show us what we’re capable of, whether that’s incredible beauty or incredible ugliness, and through that get us to ask questions of ourselves.
Who are your biggest artistic influences?
I love David Hockney’s drawings. He shows so much with just a few simple lines. I’m always looking at his sketches trying to work out how he decided what to draw and what to leave out. I also love the work of Vija Celmins and Laurie Lipton for how they push the boundaries of what you can do with just pencil.
When is your favorite time of day to create?
Anytime time during the day is fine by me.
Describe how art is important to society.
Art can challenge us, ask questions of us, and it’s also important for reminding us that we are part of a much bigger world, an infinite universe. We often seem to be doing our best to wreck it, to fill it with ugliness, but art can remind us that human beings are capable of creative incredibly beautiful things and inspire us to do better.
What motivates you to create?
It’s partly internal – I can’t not draw. And it’s partly external – I want to capture the beauty that’s all around me – my wife, the light, the sea, the countryside.
How do you define success as an artist?
If I’ve drawn something that moves someone then I’ve done okay.
Does art help you in other areas of your life?
It stops me going completely mad.
What are your long term goals?
I just want to get my work out in front of more and more people, online and in galleries, and I want to get better at drawing.