1. When you were young, what job did you picture yourself having as an adult?
I wanted to be an artist.
2. When did you first realise you wanted to be an artist?
When I was four.
3. Were you good at art at school?
I’m not sure, but I remember loving the subject. I was always lucky enough to have very encouraging teachers throughout my school years.
4. Do you remember the first exhibition you went to?
No, but I wish I did!
5. Which artists do you most admire?
Frida Kahlo. Mark Rothko.
6. Which talent of theirs do you covet?
I truly admire the honesty and earnestness in their work. I suppose I want to make work that is just as truthful.
7. If you could own any one painting in history, which would it be?
So many! But one I think I could live with and look at every day would probably be one of Mark Rothko’s later paintings – Untitled (Black on Grey), perhaps.
8. What’s the best exhibition you’ve seen recently and why?
I recently went to the Hokusai exhibition at the British Museum. I found the work really interesting, especially his paintings. I found the limited colour palette and tonal gradation in the background of the woodblock prints really inspiring.
9. Is there one place that’s had a decisive influence on your work? If so, in what way?
Probably Japan. As my father is Japanese and my mother English, I’ve grown up with British and Japanese cultures. Up until quite recently, I’ve avoided acknowledging that part of myself that seems evident in my work to some people. I feel many elements of Japanese culture are applicable to my work, such as wabi-sabi, so I now take more note of and interest in its influence.
10. Where in the world would you like to spend six months making your art?
Among the mountains in Japan!
11. What subjects are you always drawn to in your work and why?
Flowers and birds. To me they demonstrate fragility and stillness. There’s something romantic and tragic about both, perhaps it’s their short lives.
12. Which colour do you find yourself using in your work more frequently than others? Is there a reason why?
I would like to use more yellow, as it’s my favourite colour, but I actually use quinacridone magenta, a lot. There are some colours that work really well for highlights and the glow you might see when light passes though petals. Quinacridone magenta is great for this.
13. How often do you produce a new picture, on average?
I’m not sure – it depends on a number of factors. Perhaps two paintings a month.
14. What’s your studio like?
I usually have a workspace at home. I’ve been moving a lot over the past few years though, so haven’t had one fixed space to work in. But I’ve just moved again and my new studio is in a farmhouse nestled in a quiet valley by a stream in mid Wales.
15. How do you relax?
I usually run in the morning before work, and often go for a walk in the afternoon. I find being outside, rain or shine, is the best way for me to relax.
16. What’s your most treasured possession?
The bracelet my sister gave to me, inscribed with a quote from the film The Goonies.
17. What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
I almost always have a film on while I’m painting – sometimes the same one over and over all day, for several days.
18. If you could go back in time, when and where would you go?
I’d like to go back to times where various pigments were discovered. I’d most like to go back to the early days of The Silk Road trading route, and see the journey of the precious stone and pigment, lapis lazuli.
19. What plans do you have to develop your art?
I find just continuing to make is the best way to develop work. However, I would like to go to Japan to make work, perhaps on a residency.
20. How would you like to be remembered?
As a painter.