1.    How did you start drawing?
 
It is hard to pinpoint a start; this is something that I have always considered a part of life – a language or way to comunicate ideas to myself. I do remember getting into trouble as a child for drawing everywhere though...
 
2.    What does drawing mean for you?
 
Drawing is such an integral part of my practice that I‘m not sure how I‘d get along without it. Obviously my paintings deal with a form or version of reality, so the actual drawing aspect is very central to the whole process. Above and beyond that however, drawing on a more intimate scale - through works on paper -  and indeed just the physical act of mark making is something that feels important to me. It feels very human.
 
3.    Are there painters who influenced you?
 
I draw influence from a relatively wide range of sources and for a variety of reasons. Strictly within painting, I find the work of Agnes Martin, Anslem Keifer, Wilhelm Hammershoi, Gerhard Richter, Susan Rothenburg and Ian Mckeever quite influential in terms of either technique or ethos. This barely touches on my interest, but I find them a good place to start. In addition I look at a lot of photography, particularly those artists who continue to dwell in the hand made or analogue worlds. The colodian photographs of Sally Mann for instance have a very painterly feel that definitely finds its way into my work. Aside her, the sheer compostitional mastery of both Thomas Joshua Cooper and Hiroshi Sugimoto fill me with awe.
 
4.    Can you briefly explain your creative process and the mediums you use?
 
In many ways my process is traditional; it‘s oil paint on canvas. I mostly work on stretchers  that I have constructed myself, due to the fact that for me this is the beginning of the object having its own voice. The actual painting process is divided between the wall and the floor, each day starting with re-drawing the previous days disasters. The day generally ends with me laying the painting flat and using very dilute white washes to mostly cover the days work. Over night the days‘ drawing comes through (hopefully), leaving a sort of remnant or trace that I can react to the following day. Through this action I build a slow history for the image. It can be a very labored, frustrating process, but the time it takes matters. As for other mediums, I use a fair amount of stand oil and turpentine to maintain a degree of transparency.
 
5.    You are also a photographer, besides being a painter. What difference can you find between these two forms of art?
 
The primary difference for me is one of time. I‘m not so concerned with the decisive moment and I try to stretch the photographic timescale to get it a little closer to painting. Their seperate characters are what attracts me to the use of both, each process being a way for me to stabilize memory, to give its shadows a form. I don‘t seek to use either as documentary so in that respect I can use them interchangably. However, the main difference for my practice is probably the most obvious; painting has more latitude for selection – I can put in or take out to my hearts content, but with photographs, at least how I chose to make them, I am more concerned with the recording of actual matter. The differences are less hinderances than possibilites, both allowing me to access memory but from different angles.
 
 
6.    I was struck with your dim colours and the way you put together human buildings and the coldness of nature (snow, winter). I feel a sense of solitude and loss. Can you tell us more about this?
 
My colour choices have evolved over time into quite a muted hue range. Colour in the usual sense of the word is incidental and comes as a result of the process, however each colour is chosen rather than arbitrary. An unpopulated place seems to automatically have a sense of loss about it, but I think there is an inherent melancholy present in both my paintings and photographs, since they are both concerned with memory and time passing or time gone. I have a great interest in early photography and its fugitive processes; for example, the long exposures that failed to register people walking on city streets. I see painting with the same eyes – a way to engage with or punctuate my own time as it falls away, and each work becomes a marker in my own history. The paintings are in many ways portraits of loss; a time and a space that has already gone, something seen for the last time. This sense of passing has become more apparent in my most recent architectural works. They are places that we are accustomed to seeing full of people, so their absence is felt more keenly.    
 
7.    In your paintings, the point of view is always on a empty road where nobody walks. Everything is silent and the atmosphere seems frozen – but the titles are for example something like “After me” or “Be lost in me”. Do you see urban space as a metaphor for human condition?
 
In a way yes, we make urban spaces and most of us huddle together in their comfort. Contrary to this however, we are increasingly isolated and fearful, separating ourselves as much as we can. The disparity however between the emptiness or unpopulated nature of my paintings and their titles, is less concerned with humanity as a condition than it is with understanding my own experience of being human. The ‘me‘ I refer to is an actual me. These places, urban or wilderness, are excavations of memory and as such are more metaphors for my own footsteps and history. That said, the notion of collective memory, or an ‘us‘ is important to me as an idea. Part of the ‘me‘ descibes us as a species and how we cope with the mind/body distinction.  
 
8.    You were born in Great Britain but currently you are living in Germany. Do you think your personal biography and these different places have affected your work in some way?
 
Relocating to Germany has had quite an impact on my work. The sense of everything being alien and outside of formative experience throws you off balance, and it seems that it doesn‘t change significantly with time. As an artist one is automatically an outsider. Coupled with my unfamiliarity with Germany, this status allows me the freedom to look at my current surroundings with a certain keeness. It‘s difficult to quantify, but probably the best way to demonstrate this is the change in my work from purely landscape based imagery found in places far from home, to a preoccupation with city architecture – I doubt this would have happened if I‘d have stayed in Britain. I needed the exposure.
 
9.    Have you done any commercial work or will you do it? In this case how do you think commercial work could affect the way you work?
 
The closest I‘ve ever come to commercial work is making the album cover art for a couple of bands – the most notable being Agalloch‘s ‘Marrow of the Spirit‘. I tried very hard with that project to bring it within my continuing body of work as far as was possible, and I was ultimately very happy with the results. I must admit that I usually find commissioned work quite difficult to do because I constantly feel directed by an unseen hand. I imagine commercial work takes a particular mind set, and I‘m not sure it‘s one that sits very naturally with me.  
 
10.    Any advice to those young artists who aim to become a painter?
 
If I‘ve got anything useful to impart it‘s that the concept of inspiration is only partially useful. As trite as it sounds, it really is just about the work – if there are problems or struggles, paint your way out of or through them.
Two other events are worth noting, and say the same thing in different ways: I once saw a short interview with Frank Auerbach, and he remarked that painting isn‘t a game of success, and that is definitely something worth passing on.  Secondly, the day I left art school, the professor told me something that I‘ve remembered ever since – a career in painting is eighty years, not six months.
 
11.    What is on your horizon? Any running or upcoming projects?
 
After a quiet, reflective year, I have a number of exhibitions coming up in Europe and America in 2013. I will be updating my website with specifics as they become fixed. It‘s going to be busy!
 
12.    A question you will never answer to, is...
 
My room has a particular colour scheme... Could you paint something to match my sofa and curtains?‘ I will simply walk away without answering!
 
 
INTERVIEW - Fluster magazine
Freitag, 9. November 2012