1. When you were young, what job did you picture yourself having as an adult?
I wanted to make things! Probably influenced by architects in the family.
2. When did you first realise you wanted to be an artist?
The more I visited exhibitions (I was taken to see art from a very early age), the more I wanted to create art.
3. Were you good at art at school?
Yes. I got an art scholarship for sixth form at a school with an amazing and huge art department. I lived in the art room!
4. Do you remember the first exhibition you went to?
My parents took me to the Southbank a lot and I remember a particular sculpture on the roof of the Hayward Gallery. It gave the illusion of being life-sized dogs jumping through the wall. So you just saw the back half of the dogs leaping through the wall. I found it magical and remember going to see it many times!
5. Which artist do you most admire?
6. Which talent of theirs do you covet?
Pushing materials to their limits. Fearlessly.
7. If you could own any one painting in history, which would it be?
Piero della Francesca’s The Baptism of Christ.
8. What’s the best exhibition you’ve seen recently and why?
I recently saw the Gauguin and the Impressionists exhibition at the Royal Academy. Even though Gauguin is highly problematic as a character, I have to admit that I love his paintings and was particularly drawn to Blue Trees for its drama and rich colours. It was such a treat to soak up so many beautiful paintings in one place.
9. Is there one place that’s had a decisive influence on your work and if so in what way?
I first went to Cyprus in 1997 as an art student, where I stayed at Cyprus College of Art, near Paphos, and was regularly shown around the island by a local archaeologist. He taught us about the fascinating history of the place. I was most struck by his concern about the effects the tourist industry was having on the landscape and on my many visits since then I’ve gradually seen the island change and the encroaching artificiality.
10. Where in the world would you like to spend six months making your art?
Palm Springs. I’m a real fan of Douglas Coupland and his books draw me to that area.
11. What subjects are you always drawn to in your work?
I’m inspired by places we may recognise from holiday brochures and advertisements. I adore water and find swimming pools exciting. I’m drawn to the aesthetic and atmosphere of films by David Lynch and Wim Wenders. There’s a wonderful symbolic use of colour in their work, but also a revealing of the darker reality that lies beneath the often artificial surface.
12. Which colour do you find yourself using in your work more frequently than others? Is there a reason why?
I love using neon red as a ground colour. I enjoy the way it makes other colours sing. It symbolises artificiality but also intense heat. It sometimes produces a melancholy atmosphere which I like to contrast with the aspirational places depicted. It also brings a kind of drama to the work as the intense colour peeks through the limited palette. I especially love the way it interacts with coeruleum and cobalt blues.
13. How often do you produce a new picture, on average?
Once a month.
14. What’s your studio like?
It’s an old primary school. I share a classroom with an architect and another painter. I like the fact that was a primary school as I see my studio space as my playground. It’s a Victorian building, so has high ceilings and pretty good natural light. There are many classrooms full of artists and it’s a real community.
15. How do you relax?
Swimming or walking by the sea.
16. What’s your most treasured possession?
17. What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
Singing along loudly to cheesy music – often in the studio.
18. If you could go back in time, when and where would you go?
I’d like to have met Van Gogh. I’d want to visit him at the Yellow House especially.
19. What plans do you have to develop your art?
I’ve been experimenting with painting in a freer, more abstract style. But continuing to marry this with my more realistic and precise rendering of reality.
20. How would you like to be remembered?
By my masterpieces!