I define my practice by two simple principles: That it be as unhindered an avenue of creativity and expression as I am able to make it, and that it provide a material benefit to society equal to that which it does to me.
I am driven by a super-lingual compulsion and as such the things I make may be considered products of personal necessity. They fulfil a fundamental and lifelong urge to make and I openly pursue my art practice as a means to improve my experience of living. The honest truth is that I need it in order to be happy.
I have pursued creative endeavours since childhood, steering my formal education always in this direction. Upon completion of my studies in 2003 I began a committed art practice which I have maintained in parallel with gainful employment for over twenty years. However, the truth of its importance only became clear in the autumn of 2016. By this point the demands of my day job in the commercial art industry had become unreasonable and unsustainably relentless. Ultimately my physical and mental resources were drained beyond that which I could withstand, and the outcome was personally catastrophic, but in the aftermath, as I worked to rebuild, I came to understand that maintaining my practice was essential to any hopes I had of living a contented life. From that point I resolved to prioritise its continuity. My commitment has proven successful so far, but has required significant adjustment along the way.
In 2019 I was fortunate to be offered representation by three commercial galleries; in London, Barcelona and New York. It was nothing less than a dream come true, and an opportunity bestowed upon very few artists indeed, but after a year working with the galleries it was disappointingly clear that commercial concerns and the agendas of others had only served to restrict my creative freedom, apply financial pressure to my practice and severely diminish my ability to derive joy from it. The sustaining pleasure of making had been eroded to such a degree that to stay the course would directly contradict what I was trying to do - indeed, what I needed to do. This being case, I made the firm decision to leave all three galleries and instead return to a fully independent practice, free from the corrosive influence of commerce. I am well aware that by doing so I have turned away from the path an artist may traditionally be encouraged to travel in the pursuit of success, and discarded any chance of earning a living by making art. Nevertheless, I am convinced it was the right thing to do.
The outcome has been a renewed creative freedom, defined as the ability to make whatever I like, whenever I like, without any obligation or external pressure to rigidly maintain style or content, or to adhere to the timescales or criteria of others. In addition, I seek to be unburdened by the universally destructive allure of money. I must remain capable of ignoring these, the insidious demands commonly placed upon artists working within the establishment and ensure my work serves my own creative needs alone.
However, what I cannot ignore is that most people are not blessed with this great luxury of indulgence. I understand that the freedom to make art is a rare privilege indeed and I do not take it for granted. I am aware that I have no right to demand anything more of my work than the happiness it brings me. Therefore, if I am to exploit its potential as a source of income, it must be done in an ethical manner and provide a social benefit that is at least equal to my own material gain. To this end I have developed Painting Pro Bono, a project through which I sell my work at universally affordable prices, and donate 50% of all sales income to charity.
It has taken some time to reach this point and define what I do in these terms, but now that I'm here I can assert that it is the most rewarding state I have yet achieved. To have cemented into place the parallel guides of creative independence and quantifiable social contribution is more satisfying than I could possibly have anticipated and I have no doubt that they will continue to direct my practice for years to come.