Where does an idea for a new piece of art come from?
For me its literally everywhere: reading, movies, conversations, social media, art exhibitions, the landscape, the list goes on.
I could be walking anywhere and see something that'll get me thinking in a visual way and its those thoughts that'll be the guidelines for my work. Colours, movement, structures and sounds all add to the overall collection of visual ideas which appear once I'm stood in front of a blank canvas.
For a piece like 'River Papaver Somniferum' the inspiration sprang from a few places including a very old botanical illustration book, a riverside location and a walk through the local town. The canvas has several layers and each tells an ongoing story of life, growth and our surroundings.
The first layer was made with an overall wash of very light green before being highlighted with abstract spray paint reminiscent of the graffiti I see on the streets of my local town. Each mark adds structure and depth to the canvas giving me a solid and texture filled starting point.
The second layer is made with acrylic and oil paints and its where I'll start to add details of the plants. I want the piece to be eye catching and always turn to my favourite bright, vivid colour palette of pinks, reds, greens and blues. The plants I choose are the ones which stand out to me as structurally strong with a good shape which I can paint in my own style. Vintage books are a great place to look for inspiration and I've been collecting them for a long time so I always have a reference point to start at.
The last layer is the detail which I add with acrylic paint in a solid black and white line. I've developed this style in my work and it's now become easily recognisable in galleries and collections around the world. I want the lines to solidify the work but to also separate each element, giving them space and power in a busy composition.
The finished piece brings all the elements together in an imaginary environment containing rare plants, street art and abstract depictions and the size allows viewers to lose themselves in the botanical landscape.
River Papaver Somniferum