I am a sculptor and painter, based in the North East of England, creating works to commission and selling my work, e.g. limited edition bronzes or oak pieces. It is the same with my drawings and paintings.
The main influences on my work are ancient Egyptian sculpture, painting and architecture. The Constructionism of Naum Gabo and Antoine Pevsner are equally important. Medieval sculptures and paintings are an additional source of interest and the forms of structural engineering are also an area of inspiration.
For sculptures I mainly work in oak, Corten Steel or bronze. The Corten Steel pieces are created for outdoor settings. The bronzes can be made for interior or exterior venues. The oak pieces are strictly interior works. Most of the sculptures are figurative, but there are some which are more abstracted. However, I do not accept that there is any such thing as pure abstraction in the sense that some people use the word, i.e. meaning that the painting or sculpture has no relationship to anything outside of itself. All art relates to the world, and my abstractions are no exception to that fact.
The more representational pieces are usually a combination of the human figure in the upper region fused with architectural forms in the lower sections. The sculptures have complex micro labyrinthine interiors. These inter-connected interiors begin in the lower spaces, usually with an entrance on the ground floor, and ascend from one level to the next. Eventually they lead into chambers within the neck and head. The Cervical landing is situated at the base of the neck. It leads up to the Chamber of Breath, which is behind the mouth. The final space is the House of Light, situated within the cranium and resting on a structural level that I call the zygomatic platform because of it's proximity to the zygomatic bones, which form the widest parts of the face. The exterior aspect of the House of Light is visible through spaces in the cranium, but its interior can only be accessed via the interconnected rooms and vertical shafts below it.
Before I go on to explain the nature of my paintings, drawings and photographs it will help to add some brief autobiographical information, which will give the work described so far a contextual basis.
At the age of fifteen I ran away from home. It was only for a week or so. Throughout that year I had become heavily involved in a corrupt cult, the Divine Light mission. I attended meetings at an Ashram in Jesmond, Newcastle, and eventually followed Mahatma Gyan Yoganand down to Leicester, where he was joined by Mahatma Krishnasukhanand. While in Leicester I met a hippy called Lester who lived in a furniture removal van with his wife/partner. The van was painted in psychedelic designs and they drove me and my friend down to London to go to the Palace of Peace, a defunct cinema in Dulwich that had been converted by the followers of the Divine Light Mission, with a stage and shrine/throne for Guru Maharaj Ji. This guru was the same age as me,15, and he claimed to be a Perfect Master and Lord of the Universe. The Palace of Peace was very busy with hundreds of devotees eagerly awaiting the arrival of Maharaj Ji. Me and my friend slept in the area that had been the cloak rooms. I had an uneasy feelings about both Guru Maharaj Ji and his mahatmas. Maharaj Ji was making millions from the contributions of his followers, who were known as 'premies', a name derived from Maharaj Ji's real name, which is Prem Rawat. He is still active today selling his dualistic spiritual views. Anyway, at that time I was hugely conflicted, longing for enlightenment, heart and soul, but also knowing that the guru was a huge con. He was selling well known Hindu meditation techniques to westerners with the claim that they didn't work unless the inner spiritual eye was opened by him, the Perfect Master, or one of his mahatmas.
Nevertheless, the year of involvement with the DLM opened a door in my consciousness. However in the immediate years that followed the door would close tightly again as I descended into chronic alcoholism. That is a story in its own right. Eventually, shortly after my 29th birthday, I stopped drinking. I hit a terrible rock bottom and have remained alcohol free since then. My sobriety date is 10th October 1986. Today I follow a 12 Step Programme and still attend two AA meetings a week.
In parallel with this I have been interested in occultism since reading my first book on the subject when I was 14. My 2010 Fine Art Practice-led PhD thesis is called 'East-West-Occult'. The supporting exhibition was held at Aberystwyth School of Art in 2009.
The word 'occult' means: hidden. A few hundred years ago a person would be tortured and killed if they were practicing any spiritual path that was not in accordance the church's teachings and dogmas. Therefore such spiritual practices became hidden. In due course these occult schools were demonised by the church and the word 'occult' became something evil in the minds of unquestioning conformists.
I am an occult practitioner who is informed by aspects of western and eastern esoteric teachings. Of the two, the Western Esoteric Path is increasingly the dominant of the two influences, but ultimately they are expressions of the same spiritual Reality. Art, for me, is an efficaciously symbolic means of attuning oneself. Ultimately I have felt the need to develop a personalised philosophy and spiritual practice. The interiors in the sculptures are to do with a none dualistic spiritual Path. The only Master I follow is the divine spark of God consciousness, which is accessible deep within each one of us. The House of Light and Chamber of Breath (the Word) are symbols of this Path. Consciousness is everywhere, manifested throughout the cosmos in an infinite variety of ways; the cosmos is a conscious, living and evolving organism. Ultimately there is no division between the spiritual and physical realms. They are one.
Many of my paintings are thematically related to the sculptures and the philosophy outlined above. For example I often paint forms as though they are transparent, including references to interiors within their forms. Symbolism is very important and often deeply embedded, prompting contemplation. I paint in acrylics, oils and, occasionally, watercolour. In addition to stand-alone paintings I also produce a lot of working drawings and presentation visuals for proposed public sculptures.
Some of the works are photographic, often based on the double exposures of so called 'spirit photographs'. I sometimes make spirit forms from plaster and fabric, and these sculptural forms become part of the spirit photos. It's basically an interface between sculpture and photography. None of the alleged spirit photos of the past are genuine, but they do resonate and that is the aspect of them that interests me. The sculptural forms are also exhibitable pieces, presented alongside photographs and paintings exploring the same ideas.
As indicated earlier, my PhD was an investigation of esoteric philosophy and was Fine Art practice-led. It's title, 'East-West-Occult', is indicative of a spiritual thread, an Essence, running through the centre of all mystical traditions.
This philosophy underpins all of the work that I create. I have a definite interest in all religions but gravitate towards the new Testament. I'm a spiritual practitioner informed by occult philosophy, including Magic, Alchemy, Hermeticism and some aspects of Theosophy.