1. When you were a child, what job did you picture yourself having as an adult?
I never pictured any single job and always felt pressured by this question.
2. When did you first realise you wanted to be an artist?
Equally I am uncomfortable with the idea that one IS one’s profession. I am a person whose interpretation and understanding of my environment is predominantly a visual one, and therefore whatever task I undertake is approached using those tools and skills.
3. Were you good at art at school?
One of the first drawings I have from nursery school is of two goldfish in a bowl, one of them is drawn head on, so I would say I understood certain things about my visual environment and how to interpret it at an early age, whilst there were other subjects that left me perplexed.
4. Do you remember the first exhibition you went to?
The Tutankhamun exhibition in 1972 – it was so shiny.
5. Which artist do you most admire?
Impossible question! There could never be just one! I also find that different artists and works have a personal resonance at different stages of my own life and creative journey. I particularly admire and appreciate those who have broken boundaries and produced work that is jaw-droppingly ahead of its time (Turner, for instance).
6. Which talent of theirs do you covet?
One can be enriched and learn by observing the skills of others. However coveting a talent would be pointless, as an individual’s creativity is completely unique. In the end one has to commit completely to one’s own practice.
7. If you could own any one painting in history, which would it be?
Whistlejacket by Stubbs (1762). It’s monumental! Although it’s hung so well it should probably stay where it is!
8. What’s the best exhibition you’ve seen recently and why?
I love going to the Venice Biennale – both the art and architectural exhibitions (they alternate each year). Having so many different artists from all around the world is completely fascinating, not just for the individual pieces themselves, but because they can’t help but reflect what is going on around the globe socially and economically.
9. Is there one place that’s had a decisive influence on your work? If so, in what way?
Venice – partly for the above, and partly because I spent three months there and in that time really discovered a way of working that finally made sense of everything I had done up until that point.
10. Where in the world would you like to spend six months making your art?
Anywhere that’s warm and has great light.
11. What subjects are you always drawn to in your work and why?
Strange people, strange creatures and their possible stories. I am always fascinated by how people interact, where they have come from, how they got ‘here’ and what motivates them. I have never met a person who hasn’t surprised me in some way.
12. If applicable, which colour do you find yourself using in your work more frequently than others? Is there a reason why?
I use a lot of red and blue. I make my own gesso and use the polished pearly surface to apply thin layers of oil glazes to create an intensity of colour. There is no reason why these colours though, I am just always drawn to them.
13. How often do you produce a new picture, on average?
When it feels right!
14. What’s your studio like?
Currently a small room – drawers crammed and tables piled high with collage materials, shelves of brushes in favourite mugs and bottles of glazes and varnishes. It’s not as chaotic as it sounds, I just need a lot of things around me to do the work. However I am about to move to a 20 x 25 ft Victorian school room which is a blank canvas at the moment. Ask me again in six months!
15. How do you relax?
The usual – with family, friends, great food and, hopefully, inspiring conversation.
16. What’s your most treasured possession?
I have many objects that bring me enormous pleasure because they are visually pleasing and remind me of loved ones and happy times (Sailor Ted for example, chosen for me by my sister before I was born). However, as they say, “you can’t take it with you”… The thing I treasure most is time, and trying to spend it well.
17. What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
An Aperol Spritz and tramezzini in Campo San Giacomo dall’Orio, on my own.
18. If you could go back in time, when and where would you go?
I’d be fascinated to see what Tudor London was really like – less excited by being able to smell it though!
19. What plans do you have to develop your art?
Bigger studio, so maybe… bigger art! There are always projects and ideas floating around and I’m really looking forward to having the space to have a few things ‘on the go’ at the same time. Maybe they’ll cross-fertilise!
20. How would you like to be remembered?