A painting should speak for itself. As Fritz Lang, the great Austrian film maker and director of “Metropolis” stated, “When a director makes a film and it doesn’t express what he wants to say and he needs to give an interview to explain to an audience why and what; he is a lousy director.” I certainly don’t suggest an Artist be aloof or even this dogmatic, as I have enjoyed countless discussions with collectors that have left me with a vivid and refreshed perspective of my work, but it is a striking remark that applies to Art; a painting should grab the viewer without an essay or speech, leaving further explanation supplementary rather than vital. Where possible, my own thoughts should recede to allow space for the views of the audience.
I am a late bloomer and it’s taken a while to find my own voice. When I was very young, I taught myself a great deal, slavishly trying to copy any picture that appealed. This was a good way to absorb some idea of technique but a means to an end. Things have moved on thankfully and while I count Caravaggio, Degas, and Velázquez amongst many influences, I have no interest in emulating another Artist. Once you have found your stamp, there’s no going back and this is something I can not take for granted. Each bare canvas brings enough self doubt and nerves to keep me on my toes every time. I splodge the paint on and hope that I win the battle as sometimes the brushes and paint have their own peculiar ideas about how things should look. Not every piece can be of equal merit and it is this uncertainty that makes my heart leap when I have had a breakthrough. The first significant one of these arrived when I was 18 years old. It was a portrait of my Dad and I simply had not produced anything like it previously. Once completed, it made it possible for me to imagine painting as a vocation.