Have you always been creative and what’s the earliest work you can remember creating?
Drawing was a favourite activity from the moment I could hold a pencil, I can remember one of a boy holding a balloon that my mother kept for a long time.
What's your studio like and how do you keep organised?
I live and work in Camberwell, South East London, where I’m very lucky to be based in a complex of live-work units which is home to a diverse range of artists and makers. My studio is a large double-height space that allows me to work and teach on the ground floor and keep my office separate on a mezzanine. And of course I enjoy a blissfully short commute as the flat is just up a (steep) flight of stairs!
Where do you look for inspiration?
The images I use in my work are inspired by memory, nostalgia and a love of everything vintage. My work is often humorous and whimsical – unless my romantic side takes over and then we enter into a fairy-tale territory of old-fashioned script, pages of books and music scores populated by chivalrous gentlemen and glamorous ladies.
I love delving into old photograph albums, vintage documents, magazines, books, cards, technical manuals and illustrated dictionaries among other things. Second-hand bookshops, junk shops, market stalls, attics and long-forgotten boxes are my treasure trove. I have a growing archive of ephemera that provides me with reference material and inspiration. I am also drawn to colour and pattern, both of which are strong elements in my work.
Whats in your pencil case / camera bag?
Sakura pens, soft pencils, a tortillon or blending stump, two different scalpels, my favourite pair of small scissors.
Any tips for someone suffering from creative block?
I have to admit that I hardly ever suffer from creative block - if anything, I often have too many ideas for new work I want to make! Having said that, on the rare occasions when I can't settle in the studio, I'll go for a walk, meet a friend for coffee, have a rummage in my archive or do a major tidy-up.
Do you do any other crafts and what are your hobbies?
I've been learning upholstery for a while, which has been both challenging and fun.
When I’m not working I’ll be at a local cinema watching anything from obscure art-house releases to comedies and documentaries (film is one of my obsessions), meeting friends for a meal or visiting an art or design exhibition. And although I am a thoroughly urban creature, I do like to get away somewhere remote at least once a year.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
I love teaching the techniques I use in my work, partly because I’m quite bossy and it gives me license to tell people exactly what to do! Kidding aside, I really enjoy welcoming students to the lovely space that is my studio, sharing my skills with them and helping them uncover their own creativity. Few things give me greater pleasure than seeing the joy in the faces of my students as they leave having made something unique to them.