You’re from Scotland originally? What brought you to London?
I felt frustrated and a bit constrained by my career in Scotland. I was really hacking around trying to make ends meet doing commissions of anything whilst pushing my romantic landscapes without much success. I guess I realised that galleries were not going to be weighing in on them. So time to change. Move and change.
Do you miss the peace and quiet?
Not really, quite happy adapting to different environments. I find London exciting.
Did you always want to be an artist?
No, I was pretty sure I wanted to play basketball but not that well equipped in reaching that goal. I’ve always been a dreamer though so painting that place, somewhere else, seemed like a decent option.
Your work seems to focus on a fantastical perspective of an almost gloomy reality. Is that accurate?
No, I see it as a chance for hope. People occasionally react strongly towards the gloomy and also strongly the other way.
How would you describe your style?
My style is based on being exceptionally insecure about my skill. So I work exceptionally hard to get anywhere then might destroy it and find something interesting. So I can paint it again. Each layer can provide a history and then sometimes miraculously I’ve got a decent painting. In a style mixing romanticism, magical realism, and surrealism.
You often create completely contrasting worlds within 1 painting. A beautifully detailed landscape with a caravan, which has a whole other world inside the caravan. Scale and perspective are not related in any way to the rest of the work. How do decide what 2 worlds you bring together?
It changes each painting. Sometimes the composition easily falls into place without much conscious thought. They are mostly instinctual but occasionally a massive battle.
Speaking of caravans, they feature in quite a few of your works. Do you have a thing for caravans?
No, I wanted to paint a large building but didn’t know how to open up a large range of rooms. So thought I’ll have to start with a small building. Going forward the friendly shape of the caravan allowed a wider range of eerie and dour landscapes that were enlightened by the contoured presence.
Where do the ideas for your works come from?
Nowadays I take aspects that I like forward or try to improve on aspects that could be better. The big idea changes at a better pace without pushing it too much.
Finally, if you could own any 3 works of art, what would they be?