"It's not what it looks like!"

To me there is still something profound and magical about rendering space and form on a flat surface 1.

Painting is both the means and the end: It's the tool I use to explore and examine the universe and it is it's own record, it's own communication media - all in one. (How cool is that?!)

I am frequently overwhelmed by the fact everything is worthy of attention and interesting when one stops to look. (How to choose what to paint when the world keeps giving me paintings and there are only 24hrs in the day?).
My PoMo sensibility accepts all subject matter on its own terms and I don't like to ascribe hierarchy, meaning or messsage when the image itself is enough.

In this series of recent paintings I've been painting from photos I take out and about in my daily life. Shop windows and chance arrangements of objects are my "found still-lifes" 2.

When it comes to painting, I try not to add or interpret too much. If I'm working from life or photos I feel my role as a painter is simply to choose what information to include and what can be discarded. Yeah, it's a simple formula but it's still working out as a good line of enquiry for me. For example: I try to take compositions and shapes faithfully from my source material. Then I let myself have free-rein when it comes to hue, tone and line. The result is a friendly handshake between my mind and my source material. ...And if that doesn't make sense, well, there's a reason I communicate visually and not with words.

I am also having a knock-down drag-out fight with the Aura of the Original. As someone who sculpts with both clay and 3D modelling software, and paints in both oil paint and digital painting I'll admit I have a knee-jerk reaction to any notions of elitism and prestige being attached to any particular media. Surely, artists have to consciously engage with the age of digital reproduction at this point.

On a related note, digital media forces me to engage with infinite reproducibility. Why make a limited edition when you could keep hitting print and churning out as many identical, perfect copies as you like? To be blunt: It's bogus to bolt-on rarity value to something that isn't actually rare. Also, why stop there? My originals are data, I can share them down a wire with anyone who wants them. I might not reference this concept explicitly in my work but I hope it's something I am always mindful of.3
I have to put put my money where my mouth is, as a painter: I'd rather sell 100 affordable copies of my pictures to people who like it, than make only one copy that is valued as much for its rarity as its content - I have to think my content is strong enough on it's own or why bother?

But hey, here I am writing words about art.
Let's just look at the pictures, eh?

1. Since I graduated from my Fine Art course at Northumbria University in 2010 I've been struggling with/revelling in this same issue.

2. Still-lives?

3. Like the vast majority of humans on this planet, I've never had the chance to see the Mona Lisa in real life. I have seen some really hi-fidelity reproductions though. When someone talks to me about the Mona Lisa I'd don't say "sorry, I've never seen it, I don't know what you're talking about."


"What is this I don't even-"