1. When you were young, what job did you picture yourself having as an adult?
A politician. I remember being quite terrified of nuclear war; I wanted to change the world.
2. When did you first realise you wanted to be an artist?
Later on at school, probably when I was doing my A levels.
3. Were you good at art at school?
Yes, I had a really great teacher and art was my sanctuary, at home and at school. I used to bunk off assembly to go and hang out in the art department.
4. Do you remember the first exhibition you went to?
I remember my uncle, who’s also a painter, taking me to an exhibition of Degas monoprints. You could tell Degas used his hands to make the prints; they were loose and gestural and they had thumb marks in them. It opened my eyes to the possibility of mark making.
5. Which artist do you most admire?
6. Which talent of his do you covet?
His ability to pare down and distill what he saw around him, in terms of line and colour. He created very simple pieces later in life, which I guess came from years of observing and drawing/painting practice.
7. If you could own any one painting in history, which would it be?
Ooooh, maybe Matisse’s stained-glass window in the Vence Chapel, the one behind the altar.
8. What’s the best exhibition you’ve seen recently and why?
I recently went again to the Barbara Hepworth Museum in St Ives, where she lived and worked. I love going there and imagining her, cigarette in hand, working away and being an independent, successful woman artist, unusual at that time.
9. Is there one place that’s had a decisive influence on your work and if so in what way?
I wouldn’t say there is a single place, but I think having lived in Cornwall for nearly 10 years, my work has been influenced by it. It’s a very special place. The history of artists working here is pretty special too and it’s easy to feel connected somehow to a long line of artists when you come here.
10. Where in the world would you like to spend six months making your art?
Japan or Arizona.
11. What subjects are you always drawn to in your work?
Subjects come and go depending on what sparks my interest. Since the lockdowns, I have been interested in our emotional connection to the spaces we inhabit and how our homes became both our sanctuary and places of confinement.
12. Which colour do you find yourself using in your work more frequently than others?
At the moment I’m using lots of warm reds and pinks and oranges. A consciously hot palette and a deliberate move away from blues and greys. It’s part of my process of experimentation and play.
13. How often do you create a new picture, on average?
I often have lots of pieces on the go at the same time. Sometimes a painting can be done in a day, other times it can take months.
14. What’s your studio like?
I have a lovely studio at Krowji in Cornwall. The building used to be a grammar school and my studio was the English room. It is pretty tidy and organised; I can’t concentrate if there’s lots of mess and chaos.
15. How do you relax?
16. What’s your most treasured possession?
My first birthday present: a toy elephant made in Kenya, where I was born.
17. What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
18. If you could go back in time, when and where would you go?
New York, late 1950s.
19. What plans do you have to develop your art?
To keep experimenting and pushing my own boundaries.
20. How would you like to be remembered?