Soundbite painting I


Enamel paint on canvas

25.6 x 20.6cm

The question of why I make paintings has always been present. Over the years I have found, adopted or if I'm entirely honest, invented reasons. On a fundamental level the act of painting feels unavoidable for me. Irrespective of the aesthetic or content, simply making it has become a behaviour, a mannerism almost. Reduced to pure impulse it doesn't even matter what I'm painting. I began making abstract work in 2013 when I accepted indulgence as justification enough. At the time it felt like liberation, but as I look back now it was much closer to desperation at a time of increasing psychological and physical struggle.

That was then, and this is now. I still make abstract work, but because I am in far better health than I was back in 2013, satisfaction no longer qualifies the activity. Although I still need to paint as much as I ever have, and satisfaction follows, I cannot in good conscience isolate the activity from my social responsibility. When I think about painting now, it must be in terms of what tangible social benefit it will yield. This is the reason for Painting Pro Bono, and much of the impetus behind the current text paintings.

I am responsible, as are we all, for how the world is and how it will be. I am obliged to do something to help. It doesn't have to be much, but it cannot be nothing. This is where I draw the line at the present time. The way I look at it, painting must be my vehicle for this because, of all the things I have done, I do or I will do with my time, painting is the only one that endures unfailingly. By making of it a vehicle through which to enact a tangible positive contribution to society, I can be certain that I will be fulfilling at least a part of my responsibility to society for the rest of my days.

This is the first of a group of three paintings.