My paintings are silent arisings. They are wild and jubilant dances. They are attempts to show the wonder we forget when we look at the world and its on-going creation. It all depends on where you stand. Suddenly olives appear like fireflies, birds flash before our eyes and golden suns or moons dazzle. Everything is extraordinary.
Gold helps here. It crosses the bridge between the secular and the spiritual. It conjures images of money and Midas, but also Greek orthodox icons and Buddhas. This I suppose is because of its beauty and the fact it doesn't tarnish.
What do we see? Trees appear and recede into red earth and watery sky. Seas swell into individual waves, or disappear into nothingness. A bird shoots across the sky, thousands dance and sing together or lead us out of the mist into the present. If we don’t pause, we’ll miss it all. What was that? That was your life, my friend. Did you notice it?
The atomic trees, made from 1000s and 1000s and 1000s of squares of wood, are often thought to be mosaics.
While influenced by that ancient tradition, they are actually paintings on tesserae. And the works are called atomic, because they are made of parts clearly visible to us, but each atom is in fact unique. In other words, they interconnected individuals creating a whole, rather like a murmuration or choir.
Gold flows in the gaps. This gives them space to breathe and emerge into life, so that they appear to come into being before our eyes.
They are in some way a time-capsule - in that they hold so much time in the making. It is obvious they took an age to construct, every piece was cut and laid by me, and in this instant digital and virtual age, that I think is important.
The etching and aquatint are two other media, of such complexity and intricacy, that painting in comparison is like floating down a river.
Nothing can be corrected - you can't go back - and so many things can go wrong, that it sometimes feels like a brutal therapy in impermanence.
And yet, when it works, the result can be magical. The detail and subtlety express a delight in the particular, in the tiny structures of life.
Each print is original - they are all inked individually, and there are so many variables in the process, that each comes out subtly different. I hope they compliment my paintings and all the work comes from the same place.
Art perhaps is more important than ever now. For one thing it is not functional – which is pretty rare. Even games and toys nowadays have to be justified as educational, and with the wonders of modern communication, those undistracted, aimless moments are rare. But mainly it opens us to other ways of seeing. It shows there is more to the world than us and that not everything that is valuable is quantifiable, measurable, wholly rational.
Love is like that too. I also think there is always space for something beautiful.