Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Recently I was involved in some filming for BBC2. I was asked which painters inspired my work.
My standard answers to this question are Picasso, Turner and the New York city graff writters of the 80's....Jose Parla ran through my mind, but I didn't mention him as he is not an inspiration at all, he is just someone whose work I quite like and has some similar stylistic concerns to myself. We are very different artists however, and our work come from and goes to different places.
When I mentioned Turner, the critics involved (Charlotte Mullins, David Lee and Roy Bolton) generally agreed they could see something in this...itself a huge compliment. They also said that the graffiti influence was apparent though were less convinced about Picasso.  I confess that nowadays this is more due to his work ethic and self conviction than anything, though his early portrait of Ambroise Vollard is the single most significant image that took me from spraying graffiti on walls to actually buying a set of acrylic paints and making my first 'proper painting'!
Portrait of Ambroise Vollard, 1910, by Pablo Picasso

Charlotte Mullins then asked me about contemporary painters like Callum Innes.
This is really not a straightforward answer, though I said 'yes...and Mark Francis...'
Again they do not directly inspire me, BUT I really appreciate the quality and beauty in their work. They are definite 'markers' of what can be achieved through painting.
Two Identified forms, 2007 by Callum Innes

Untitled monotype, 2003, by Mark Francis

This got me to thinking about a couple of other names whose work I really love. One of the most significant is a good friend of mine from when I studied in Chicago. She is not so well known in the UK, but I really believe her work will be widely sought after in a few years time. Her name is Carrie Gundersdorf

south east trails, 2007 by Carrie Gundersdorf

To me, Carries work is sublime in it's beauty. Carrie takes as her start point the traces left by stars and other astral phenomena. This actually distracts me when I think about it too much, preferring to focus purely on the formal beauty....these paintings have their own soul. What more do you need?!?!

star trails, 52 minutes. 2007, by Carrie Gundersdorf.

One of Carries main influences is another Chicago based painter called Michelle Grabner. I have admired Michelle's paintings in the past, but it never really went beyond that. Recently however, I saw a new body of work that looks amazing...

(above 3 images all by Michelle Grabner. I do not have titles or dimensions for these pieces at this stage.)

The other painter of this ilk who I would say is an inspiration is Sean Sculley. The fundamental thing about Sean's work is it's physicality. It is big and it's tough...but it is beautiful in it's own right.

I find it a bit amusing that Michelle's work is made in the context of 'men and women painting'. To me it is so unimportant...a bit like the question raised recently by that fool Andy Gray about if female officials should be allowed to control male football games.
If a person can do the job well, let's just get on with it and appreciate it. End of!

news just in:
a guy who I regard as my 'mentor' (Geoff Pattison) used to know Sean Sculley from his time up in Newcastle and they were both friends with another painter called Steve Joy. I had not heard of Steve before, but his work looks pretty interesting too:

Interesting to see gold and silver leaf being used in these, I have done a few with gold leaf and have 4 new ones in my studio now. would be good to see one in the flesh sometime.

Below is one of my older gold leaf works:

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