I drew from an early age (4-5 yrs old). I started using oil paints when I was about 8 after my grandfather, W.E.Anderschou, died and a box of his oil paints turned up at our house. Later, I drew obsessively during all my classes at Judd School in Tonbridge, Kent between 1971/77 (especially Maths) and followed the Dali/Dean seam of surrealist fantasy that all melancholic young artists at that school followed (both of us), with a bit of cruel caricaturism of mad masters thrown in to leaven the craziness of the place.
I failed Art “O” Level first time around (a gouache painting of my plimsoled feet and a doubleneck electric guitar with various other jarringly incongruous semi-symbolic objects floating about). After I was expelled from Judd for not fitting in I attended West Kent College, between 1977/79 where I landed up in Brian Davies’ fantastic Art Class. He encouraged me as an artist and as a photographer in the ‘A’ Level. I then went to Art School at Canterbury (Foundation 1979/80), Leeds Polytechnic (1980/83) and finally at St. Martins’ School of Art (1983/84).
I got a rubbishy 2:2. Analysis of the failure: I fluffed the degree show with over-ambitious pieces over various different mediums and styles so that the final piece never got completed. After that, instead of going on to do an MA at Chelsea as the tutors expected me to, I went into the job market as a temp after the obligatory 3 months on a building site.
During these desperate years I did a clerical work in offices, before leaving that world (temporarily) to join the team at Palace Software in The Scala Cinema at Kings’ Cross, London, doing computer games. I was only there for 9 months but it was an important time, not least because I finally got together with my second wife, Nicki.
I also had an exhibition at the Submarine Gallery across the road.
Lots of strange stuff went on at Palace and my photography was in a world of its own with trips to West Brompton Cemetery with Nicki and a roll of InfraRed Ektachrome. Then came a move to Brighton where I worked for a few more years in Computer Games Design & Animation before the inevitable Thatcherist Boom/Bust cycle slumped the company I worked for (Martech/Intelligent Design) out of existence. I then went back to temping in Brighton.
Then came another break which I managed in my usual skilful manner to make as little of as possible: a temp placement with The Body Shop International in Littlehampton. I managed to work there for a few years, doing computer generated slides for talks, a bit of early multimedia, and lots of DTP and illustration, most significantly for Anita Roddick herself. Just at this time I joined North Star Studios in Brighton and recommenced screenprinting, litho and etching. I also had an exhibition at a friend’s place on Brighton Seafront, The Collett Gallery.
Thereafter were several years between 1993 and 2002 where I was a freelance DTP/Typesetter in London. North Star Studios took up my free time and I managed to do a lot of prints in this time though hampered by lack of technical support that is taken for granted at art college.
In 2002, after yet another slump in the Print Industry I found the Print Road had run out altogether and I started studying Law and eventually I got Called To The Bar.
In the past 5 years or so I started landscape painting and printmaking again.
MY WORK: I have always confused viewers and my peers by being multimediaesque in the sense that I tried everything artwise settling mainly on painting (abstract, surreal, landscapes, portraiture, collage, montage), drawing and printmaking (etching, litho, screenprinting, woodcuts), photography and early computer graphics (C64 level, not Quantel Paintbox).
I managed to look like a different artist in each medium.
Nowadays I am mostly doing the landscapes again with a few abstracts derived from the paints left over on the palette after I’ve been in the fields/woods etc. which I use at home to do the colour studies. These are abstract extrapolations of the basic Colour Wheel/Colour Theory exercises that we had to do at Canterbury Art College Foundation. For some reason the fascination of those early colour exercises has never left me. The colour studies have given me a reason for my abstraction and a direct link between it and my landscape/ figurative work.
The leftover colours start the process of dictating which colours come next and whilst deriving from the real world of nature soon diffract off into all sorts of weird and unexpected collisions. It really is a way of bringing the random into the natural, and sometimes external events in the world also manifest themselves into the general demeanour of the abstract work in whether it is bright or gloomy, even stressed and harsh. This reminds me of William Burroughs’ ‘cut and paste’ technique, and the forgotten art of ‘tape loops’, whereby the physical intervention into the creative process (literally cutting and pasting) creates a dislocation in the finished article that makes you step outside of the ‘preordained pathways’ that you otherwise would not be aware that you were following. When I am in the woods I sometimes see the paths formed in places by the deer and I am reminded of the familiar routes we all take unconsciously in doing whatever it is that we do, and the trails we leave behind. Paintings and art can form these paths and help you step outside of them with the right approach.