I think I know why I keep my studio a special place. It’s not some magical haven of creativity or a shining beacon of expression. It is a secret place because it is mine.
When I go there I have no outside world. I have no distractions and nobody around me. I can close off everything and just be by myself. Sometimes I don’t paint – I like things to be tidy and neat so I will clean and put things in their place when I am not painting. It’s my escape route from the world that surrounds me.
I still get full of fear when I am about to tackle a piece of canvas but at least I have no-one around me to tell me what to do. I can’t bear that when I’m painting – actually I can’t bear that anyway. I like being isolated and cut off. I only have to battle with my own demons and not someone elses. Somedays I just sit on my big red sofa and do nothing but look around or think about stuff. You know, the big things in life – why bother painting, where the next latte is coming from etc..
The inside of a creative’s head is a complex one. The biggest issues I think I will ever face are those concerning value. What I mean by that is that on occasions it’s right to question whether anything you do has any value or merit. This has got nothing to do with how many you sell or how popular you may be – this is an internal thing that no-one can affect, it is a personal battle for belief in what you do and the justification for it. Ironically it is also what keep me going onwards – helping me to make new and better pieces. Without any self-doubt how can I ever measure whether what I produce has any merit?
Okay, so I know that it’s all down to the viewer and it’s all subjective but this is about the creator not the viewer. I guess I see my work differently to how others do – a bit like how your recorded voice sounds when you listen back to it. Occasionally I produce something I know may not be commercially viable but I fall in love with it and it becomes a justification for why I paint at all. Artists need those moments. A little bit of self-licking goes a long way.
In a fickle and fashion-conscious world where fads come and go it’s easy to get sucked into the mainstream. In many ways I am glad I don’t fit that mould. It doesn’t mean I have a bigger pair of balls than anyone else it just means that I prefer to stay true and honest to my core values as an artist – and that’s to not give a shit. When I stop caring, when I am alone in my studio, when there is only me and the canvas and a few tins of paint – that’s when the good stuff comes out, that’s when every piece is the best piece, that’s when I can attach value to what I do and that’s why I do it because when you get it all right there is no better place on this earth I would rather be.