What interests me is the way things are remembered in visual terms, how a shape or a colour can remind us of a place or a person. There is a strong element of storytelling in my work although the images are abstracted. In the studio I surround myself with drawings and photos but ultimately I paint as instinctively as possible. To get to know my subject matter I make lots of sketches, but I don’t work directly from them because I want a more gestural and spontaneous result. Paintings are like children; you nurture them but ultimately they speak for themselves. I have to abandon any preconceptions about what a painting might end up looking like, in order to give it the freedom it needs to evolve.
I preserve brush marks and paint splashes rather than covering them up because I want my work to be an antidote to the airbrushed screen-saver images that surround us. I refer to images that are in danger of being forgotten; black and white snapshots from my childhood including aerial reconnaissance photographs that my father took from his Spitfire, which have led me to explore further the memories of the Second World War. Recent work includes my responses to visiting Hiroshima and the Valetta war rooms in Malta.
I try to make paintings that have an initial impact, but also a sonority that reveals itself as you spend time with the piece and encourages contemplation. To me there is no correct interpretation of the work; I’m not making images that you need to read about before you look at them. Knowing how they came into being may add another layer of interest, but abstract work can be understood on a purely aesthetic level as well, that’s the beauty of it. I hope people can connect on an emotional level in the same way they relate to music; you can hear a song and love it before you have any idea what it’s about.