Based in South Wales, I am a portrait and figure painter, and artist in residence with the international dance company Ballet Cymru. My work is held in private collections across the UK and internationally, and is represented in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art Cymru. I am represented in Wales by Ffin y Parc Gallery, on the edge of Snowdonia, Conwy.
Originally from Dartmoor in southwest England, I studied painting at St Martin’s School of Art, London, where I was particularly inspired by working from life, and by paintings and sculpture in the Courtauld Gallery, the British Museum, and other great collections in the vicinity of the school.
As a student I spent two summers in Greece and Turkey, researching my thesis on the art and culture of the monastic state Mount Athos, and making studies from classical antiquity in archeological sites such as Ephesus, Epidavros, and Olympia. An experience in the Archeological Museum of Thessaloniki confirmed this period of art history as a foundational reference point in shaping my practice as an artist, and the aesthetics and principles of classicism remain a key influence and inspiration in my practice.
After graduating from art school in 1992, I moved first to the Czech Republic and then to Italy, where I worked as a teacher whilst continuing to study art.
During a year living in Prato, near Florence, I travelled extensively around Tuscany, making studies of pictures and sculpture in galleries, museums, cathedrals and churches across the region. Particular areas of interest were the works of Giovanni Pisano in Pisa and Siena, and of Filippo Lippi in Prato and Pistoia. I was also very privileged to be able regularly to access the study rooms at the Uffizi, where I was able to make direct copies of drawings by, among others, Holbein, Bellini and Michelangelo. These experiences continue to inform my work.
Returning to the UK in 1996, I joined several South London life drawing groups, met a number of inspiring painters and models, and returned almost exclusively to drawing and painting from the nude. Whilst beginning a period of work with a homelessness charity, I established myself in a studio in Brixton, where I developed my work and ran a regular life drawing sessions for local artists.
Moving to South Wales in 2003, I continued to paint and draw from life in my studio in Barry, working from the nude for a number of years before developing a greater interest in portraiture – particularly working with musicians, comedians, dancers, and other stage performers. This change of direction began in around 2010, as I began to exhibit more widely, and shortly before I left my employment in the homelessness sector and began working entirely in the arts.
After working with several dancers during this period, I began exploring a crossover between portraiture and a more gestural, dynamic form of figure painting, bringing together several disparate elements of my earlier practice and influences. This work has been my main focus since around 2016, particularly with with Ballet Cymru, and draws heavily on the collaborative nature of the approaches dancers and I have developed, and reflecting the unique discipline and artistic sensibilities that dancers’ training and experience bring to the creative process.
These collaborations are ongoing, though from the spring of 2020 and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic they have been adapted using Zoom and other forms of video sharing to facilitate remote working. Pictures from this series are numbered with the designation EF (Experimental Funtimes).
I enjoy teaching life drawing and portraiture to children and adults in a number of settings, including workshops for Criw Celf in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, and a regular workshop at Machynlleth Comedy Festival, Powys, for which festival comedians model. These sessions regularly inform my own work, and help me to find clarity in the ways I think about making pictures.