I was six when I knew my future would have something to do with art. My father was a keen artist and my grandfather worked in art and design, so I was very lucky to have access to their expertise and example.
Making pictures was a perfectly normal thing to invest time and effort into, and although I never required encouragement or praise to draw and paint, commandeering the kitchen table for some messy and incomprehensible artistic whim was generally accepted without comment.
In 1996, after graduating from Coventry Art School with some well-developed skills – and some completely absent ones – I went about the business of painting commercially. Ten years of paying the bills took me through a large number of copies, illustrations, murals and into graphics, 3d design and ultimately interior design.
During this time I honed a number of techniques, and discovered a lot about what I was good at and what I should probably avoid; however, I hardly had the chance to do my own artwork, let alone the creative energy. Eventually I became completely dissatisfied with the world of commercial art and barely recognised my own work. I decided to sell my other ability – music – and pursue my art for its own sake.
I now only work from life, hardly ever photographs. For subject matter, I had always been inclined towards the human form and face. More recently I have been rediscovering still life and plein air.
Making art is my way of discovering myself. In painting and drawing I see my own nature; the confidences and inhibitions, the profound and the mundane.
We all communicate on a sub-linguistic level. Painting gives me the opportunity to look at what we experience as human beings before it gets squeezed into words, and keep a little bit of it.
When working I am at my most honest, and most alive.
Photo by Tara Bradford