It’s difficult, if I’m honest, and I don’t feel like I have got the balance quite right yet. But I think when all are at play somehow, the work becomes stronger. We’ve all been ‘disciplined’ through our education, so it’s quite hard to de-couple from that, but the more I talk about myself as an artist, the more comfortable I feel accessing the other areas of my skill set as part of the Art.
You seem to have an affinity for the historical aspects of the development of Art and design – particularly the late great William Morris (1834-96 – designer, author, poet, activist and much more). What do you think he would think of the world today?
I think he saw it coming if I’m honest.
Every year I spend the first three months focussed on Morris (William and his daughter May), and this year I am making works that suggest he might have predicted climate change! I think he would find social media difficult… but don’t we all really!
Tell us a little about the idea behind your works for Frameworks Gallery?
Since lockdown, I have been making works using a domestic scanner at night to create images of plants and flowers. It just happened as that was a tool I had on my desk, and my little London garden was blooming.
The outputs capture extraordinary detail and colours at super high resolution. Encouraging people to look closer at nature around them.
For Frameworks Gallery I wanted to play with the resolution and the ability to buy digital prints in different sizes. So this ‘Crop Tool’ series has a fixed resolution for the largest print available, then for each smaller size, it crops in, and you get less of the image! Actually, for me, some of the closer crops become more abstract and beautiful and give more focus to colour.
Nature is a fundamental part of your work – as seemingly purely esthetic motifs and elements with a more political and activist approach. Do you differ, or does it all stem from the same ideal and worldview?
Through my work, I’m interested in celebrating nature, unpicking ideas of human progress and exploring the cognitive dissonance needed to be alive today in our mad world.
Some works focus on just one of these things, whilst others might hit a sweet spot and manage to touch all three.
Because my development process is usually quite fast and materials-focused, I’m becoming more comfortable with works taking a journey through these different themes and putting out works on the way, not just waiting to find that perfect work.
Since the time of the druids and pagans in Britain, herbs and particularly flowers have held significance in British culture. Is this something you have actively considered concerning your work?
That is a difficult one! Maybe the Hydrangea as there is one in this collection.
To a Continental, you seem like the embodiment of a modern English gentleman and perhaps, therefore, can advise us all, to which virtues and manners we should uphold in the near future of these tumultuous times?
Well, that’s very kind, but I’m not sure it’s a good time to celebrate being English, to be honest! But to try and answer your question, I’m really trying to focus on generosity in all parts of my life and work right now… which is hard in the world we have grown up in.
Favourite place in London we should see and visit?
I love going up the Monument. I took my 7-year-old there recently, and she loved it! It marks the great fire of London and is an old tower with an endless winding stone staircase and views at the top that rival more modern lookouts.