HOW IT HAPPENED
The State of My Art to Date
I lived in an old lorry, it was big and old and red. Inside was like a canal boat but it had been made with wood from an old church. It had originally been built by the NHS in Bristol as an xray unit. It was my pride and joy along with my son who was brought up in it.
One day a horsedrawn lady approached me and asked if I could fix her stained glass window in her bowtop caravan. I told her I could although I had no idea how. I enrolled on a glass class at a local college and before you knew it I was doing more advanced classes in glass, fine metals and ceramics. My work became highly illustrated and sculptural. Glass lending itself well to that. I am an environmental campaigner and I enlisted my friends from these campaigns to help me with my work. They too having found their way into making arts and crafts. Traditional crafts really going hand in had with a love of nature.
Being close to nature and the traditions of the past are just as important as new technologies and I've fused them together in unexpected ways. Lazer cutting repeating pattern designs or projecting them onto glass the scale often becoming more large as it became more complex. More recently, and due to a period of homelessness I found myself with no tools or workspace. I continued to make, however this took on an additional slant. Street art and performative community gardening became a way for me to express my creativity along with painting. I don't suppose I particularly chose it. It was just what the situation allowed for. While this was going on my old lorry was set alight. I had just come back from working with refugees on the Greek Island of Samos so I used my burnt things to illustrate what they had lost in an installation. Looking back I wonder how this was logical for someone that had lost everything but I invited people in to the middle of it all and we played swingball in a room full of stained glass and burnt books with a huge projection of a fire on the wall.
After a period of jumping from one fire to a frying pan to back in the fire I decided to write a illustrated art book about what was happening. Id lost touch with myself and was really low. I created a loveable character to represent myself and others experiencing loss. I had to learn to care about me again as it truly felt like nobody cared most of the time and I battled with sucidal thoughts and made a lot of bad decisions.
I finally finished this book in my studio which happens to be in the School where I went as a kid. It's beyond ironic since Perth is the first town I ran away from. I have literally comeback to resolve childhood trauma while writing a book about trauma and survival. Serendipity is not uncommon in my work however so it doesn't come as a huge surprise. It's been like going full circle and I've really fought some demons on the way. As I look at the book though I know that the adventures I have had in life have become my art. The experiences, people and places enriching what I do. At the core of the story is nature, justice and survival.