As much as I appreciate artists whatever their medium or personal style, I feel most connected to abstract artists. I admire a great many artists but favour a little more, Cezanne, Hieronymous Bosch, Chagall, Giacometti, Louise Nevelson and Barbara Hepworth. Within NZ I’ve always been a big fan of Cliff Whiting, John Drawbridge, Len Lye, Francis Hodgkins, Theo Schoon and Ralph Hotere, although I also have high regard for many NZ artists – Sandy Adsett, Paratene Matchitt, Steve Gibbs, Gretchen Albrecht, Don Peebles, Grahame Sydney, Toss Woolaston, Colin McCahon, Len Castle, Don Binney, Melvin Day, Brent Wong.
A person might be able to milk cows but that doesn’t make them a farmer so although I paint I wouldn’t call myself an artist. I arrived to abstract painting by default really. Generally I paint at night and it became demotivating to wake in the morning to find the colours I’d mixed under house light bulbs were in natural light totally not what I thought I was going for. What I discovered is how authentic and organic the abstract process is. It’s rebellion, joyous, liberating and endlessly interesting. I love how I can start with no idea in mind and generally expect something will turn up. What is really interesting is how viewers seem to approach a painting in a similar manner – at first there is nothing and then there is. Even more interesting is that though viewers can be wholly unconnected to one another they appear to share iconography and that there seems to be some finiteness to this.
Since I rarely know in advance what is going to happen and because sometimes a canvas can look more interesting upside down or turned on its side, naming takes place after a painting is finished. ‘Nora walking down the lane’ is a case in point. Nora left me a video message which she recorded while she was out walking. This painting is made by pouring layers of paint over the canvas followed by removing paint and repeating the process as many times as seems appropriate, and there she was.
My aim is to paint between 50 and 70 pieces a year. I don’t seem to be particularly motivated by precision preferring instead to begin a new painting.