“You make your own opportunities and Leicester has definitely strengthened that DIY attitude within me”
What do you do?
I’m a multidisciplinary artist who lives and works in Leicester at the amazing StudionAme. I’ve been practising and exhibiting for well over 10 years. I create work in many different media including paint, sculpture, installation and digital media. I’m open to exploring different ideas and adapting my skills or learning new ones to convey them. My work can be provocative yet hopeful. I’m mostly inspired by science, nature and geometry and Gold plays a large role in a lot of my work across disciplines. My work is also about looking up into the sky and cosmos and with my most recent body of work I physically went up to explore ideas and create new artworks.
My most recent project has been the biggest of my career so far, which I am happy to say is on display at Leicester Museum and Art Gallery now until the 15th November 2020.
Finding The Fallen is a dynamic exhibition combining contemporary art and history to explore ideas of sacrifice and remembrance. In July 2019, I set out on Expedition JP237 where accompanied by aeronautical archaeologist Francesco Sabini and Photographer Zoe Childerley, I climbed Monte Zatta in Northern Italy to explore the fatal crash site of my great-grandfather’s Halifax bomber. The exhibition tells his story and recounts my journey to create art within the landscape. The exhibition is supported by Arts Council England and coincides with the 75th anniversary of the end of WW2. The exhibition explores the universal need to connect with our personal heritage. Discovering how objects turn into relics and hold powerful memories, showing how with time these objects can convey new meaning despite being made from the debris of the past. Artworks on show include recovered WW2 Halifax aircraft parts such as Bristol Hercules aircraft engine reworked into sculpture. Also on display are artworks created directly into the landscape of the mountain and wreckage collected from the crash site.
How did you get to where you are?
I’ve always loved art, from being a kid making a mess, then through school it was always my favourite subject. Then onto college and going against all advice from literally everyone off I went to university! Graduating De Montfort in 2007 and after a few years of pissing about trying to figure out what to do with my life, but still always drawn and getting involved in art projects like Antony Gormley’s Fourth Plinth project One & Other I was plinther 1926.
I also worked on exhibitions including a Roger Hiorns exhibition a couple of years before he was nominated for the Turner Prize which of course only fuelled my commitment to the cause. I finally took the plunge with the help of the Prince’s Trust to become self employed and become a full time artist.
My first major project was painting an Elephant sculpture as part of the public art event Elephant Parade in London in 2010 in aid of the Elephant Family charity. I went down to London spent a week painting the sculpture which then went on display on the Southbank outside the Hayward Gallery/Royal Festival Hall. The sculpture then went on to be sold at a charity auction for £10,000 and I was hooked! The allure of being involved in something larger than myself, the opportunity to collaborate with the most amazing people and that my work could affect people in some kind of way was too good to pass up. So since then I’ve never looked back.
Being involved in many other public art events, exhibiting internationally, unconventionally and DIY-ally. Selling at London Art Fairs, through Galleries and enacting many personal projects it’s been eventful, with the best yet to come…
Why do you love what you do?
I’ve always been hugely interested in psychology, sociology and why we are like we are. Pondering those all important existential questions and exploring them through my work. It’s a bit of a fool's errand really, but I try to find a better understanding of the world and myself, rather than answers to those questions.
Everyday is different and I get to mix and work with the best kind of people. It’s freedom, complete and absolute, sometimes even cripplingly so. I’ve always been weirdly determined in the fact that this is what I wanted and will do with my life and there was nothing or no one that was going to stop me. I don’t really understand where that drive comes from as it’s not always undertaken with confidence or certainty, but it seems to be an unquenchable source…
Why are you based in Leicester?
I was born in Scotland, but during my childhood moved multiple times over the length and breadth of the country as my dad was in the RAF. So when I decided to come to Leicester for university it was weird to stay in one place and now for so long!
I’ve lived here ever since and there's no plans of going anywhere! Leicester has always had an amazing art scene, the rest of the world just needs to catch up! The city itself is small enough that you can make good friends but big enough that there's always something to do or going on. We’re an hour from London on the train and I’ve never felt I’ve been missing out not being anywhere else!
You make your own opportunities and Leicester has definitely strengthened that DIY attitude within me.
A much needed and well earned break as I’ve been working on that recent project for over 2 years straight. Unfortunately due to covid-19 a lot of art fairs and events I was involved with have been postponed or cancelled.
Although frustrating this does give me time to develop new work and projects. I will have another big solo show in 2021 based around my painted works about outer space and nebula but that’s all I can say about that for now. So in the meantime please visit Leicester Museum and Art Gallery to see Finding The Fallen which runs until 15th November. For all other info and things I’m working on visit my website or follow me on social media.
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