I began painting in January 1994, several threads in painting and
life have interested me much more passionately than most others.
I love the idea of painting as a first draft. For me, that connects
with Don Peebles' idea that he likes an artist to reveal the messiness
of their research. I haven't developed many connections with so-called
"representational" painting - The question in painting
which most excites me is: "What if colour has a life
of its own?"
The first time I saw this question was in the
following piece written by the French painter Sonia Delaunay in
1949. It reads: "Up to the present, painting has been
nothing but photography in colour, but the colour was always used
as a means of describing something. Abstract art is a beginning
towards freeing the old pictorial formula. But the real new painting
will begin when people understand that colour has a life of its
own, that the infinite combinations of colour have a poetry and
a language much more expressive than the old methods. It is a mysterious
language in tune with the vibrations, the life itself, of colour.
In this area, there are new and infinite possibilities."
I find exploring these possibilities exhilarating.
I'm looking for soul connections - using colours
which resonate and reverberate in my soul. Sometimes when I paint
I like to simply compose a painting as you can see in "Three
Flowers Seen Among Blues and Greens With A Leaping Orange Shemozzle".
On other occasions I like to begin a painting
as a composition - then constantly interrupt it and improvise upon
it as you can see in "My Ken Saro-Wiwa Painting."
I also like to pull ideas apart and put them together
again differently. An example of that in my painting is "Sunset
Under Alabaster Dolls", which I painted upside-down so I wouldn't
be trying to control the effects I was getting.
So I'm looking to interrupt familiar patterns
- mine - and those given by our inherited social contexts. I notice
when I learn most, it's in painting.
Another thing I'm looking for is - have I done
my job? My job's to re-enchant the world - to communicate freshness
and wonder to the whole human family right now. As a painter, I
stand for painting out of a spirit of wonder, of miracles in the
making, and for the re-enchantment of our world.
My "job" as a painter is to create missions
around painting which light people up. What I mean by that is that
painting can both be about originality and technique and it can
also be about making profoundly fundamental social and financial
differences within each and every community those painters and their
For example, by selling my paintings and donating
US$1million each to Amnesty International and the Mary Potter Hospice
respectively - both those organisations then have more money to
fund the next stage in their development, which in turn benefits
our communities. So I'm committed to having painting help with all
of that, as well as being original. Now that really
lights me up!
My purpose is to create miracles in the making
which light you up completely. It is like I am constantly asking
you - what could I paint for you that would most inspire you today?