A desire for being with, observing and drawing animals has been with me from my earliest memory, so it comes as no surprise then that as a professional artist I am an animalier.
Growing up in rural Cambridgeshire, my country childhood seemed quite unrestricted by today’s standards. As a very young child my mother recalls my rather alarming habit of approaching dogs, ostensibly to say hello, but instead prising open their jaws to inspect the inner workings of their mouths! Weekends and holidays were mostly spent outdoors exploring, building dens, walking dogs and cadging rides from friends lucky enough to have ponies. I even recall hanging out at the local abattoir and being allowed to watch the process from start to finish. Macabre as this might seem, I found the whole procedure fascinating and it set in motion my lifelong interest in anatomy.
I was keen to leave the confines of school, art being the only subject I excelled in: I did so as soon as I was able, deciding on farming as a career. The subsequent two years spent in the profession put me off for life! – although I do remain committed to compassionate animal husbandry and ethical farming.
There followed a few years in business in London which was good fun but ultimately unfulfilling. I had always continued to draw and paint and it was a friend who suggested that this was perhaps where my vocation lay. So it was that I found myself on an art foundation course where I met the remarkable Joe Frenzy, an ex jockey from Transylvania (you couldn’t make it up!) His lessons were a revelation. Joe unlocked the power and mystery of colour, composition and the wonders of life drawing – I loved it and realised I’d found my path.
Following on from this I decided on a fine arts sculpture degree, studying under the tutelage of two talented practising sculptors, Dave Tarver and John McGill. Dave, who sadly passed away in 2014, instilled the value of direct, observational drawing, often quoting Degas… Drawing is not the same as form; it is the way of seeing form. From John I gained an appreciation for the traditional techniques and materials of sculpting and, whilst encouraging me to be forward looking, he would also reference back to past masters; Rodin, Michelangelo and the sculptures of ancient Greece and Rome.
After graduating I established my own studio and my real apprenticeship began at this point. I focused on animals as my subject matter and experimented with materials including wax, clay, plaster and wire. I was beginning to find my voice as a sculptor. A solo exhibition at the City Gallery, Leicester in 2000 helped establish my reputation as an artist, resulting in greatly increasing my profile. Commissions and invitations to show followed and I now enjoy a busy schedule of exhibitions in galleries and sculpture parks around the country. My work is held in many collections around the world including UK, Ireland, Belgium, Sweden, Japan, China, United States, Channel Islands, France, South Africa, New Zealand and United Arab Emirates.
My studio is based in Leicestershire, where I live with my family and assorted animals.
Courtesy of the artist’s website.