We recently saw your works at Encounter Contemporary in London, and felt it would be great to ask some questions about your work. Can you tell us a bit more about your body of work shown at Encounter Contemporary? What inspired you to create these works?
I see myself primarily as a painter, but for this show I worked on a series of charcoal drawings. One of the works we exhibited was a large-scale paper cut-out called ‘The things I've seen’, installed unframed directly on the wall, to emphasise the fragility and movement of the paper. This piece, like much of my work, is derived from various starting points, referencing a range of things that interest me; layered together from science, nature, and microbiology.
How has COVID impacted your practice?
When lockdown began, like most people, it had a big impact as all of the exhibitions and projects I was working on were postponed or cancelled. I was fortunate that I could continue working in my studio, and because there were less distractions, I found it increasingly a very productive time. I think that artists are naturally able to cope well with lockdowns as we spend so much time on our own in isolation. 20 years spent sitting in a studio, relying on self-belief and self-motivation, was ideal preparation for a global pandemic.
Sustainability plays a key role in your latest fashion collaboration, could you elaborate on that?
Over the years, I've made a series of work inspired by the rainforest, and recently I collaborated with American sustainable womenswear label Eve and Max. This project benefited the Rainforest Foundation US, a non-profit organisation supporting the indigenous peoples of the world's rainforests. There were various talks and events to highlight sustainable fashion and environmental issues. For the project, I created a painting from the Taman Negara rainforest in Malaysia, the oldest rainforest in the world, untouched by ice age glaciers. The painting concentrates on the abstract beauty of nature and the energy which can be found within it, with an optimistic, euphoric feel that signifies a return to hope.
What are your aspirations and where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Like most artists I'd like to continue working and exhibiting and if I'm still doing that in 10 years I'll be happy.
Could you tell us a bit more about your artistic process? From conception to completion?
I start by making drawings and taking or collecting images, which I layer up on photoshop to make composite images. I always work from black and white so that any colour is instinctive rather than adhering to any formal restrictions. From these I make paintings, built in layers, or minimal paper cuts-outs or light boxes, but all, even my most abstract works, are rooted in observation.
What is your advice for younger artists and what would your advice be to yourself 20 years ago?
Don't let anything leave your studio that you are not happy with, and never be scared of destroying work that you feel is not good enough, even if people around you disagree. Destruction can be a very creative process. Be your own harshest critic because ultimately, it's you that has to stand by your work