When did you realize you wanted to be an artist?
As a child – it’s the only thing I’ve ever really wanted to do and what I’ve dedicated every working moment to since. It’s one of the most exhilarating and terrifying ways to make a living but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
How would you describe the style of your work?
I’m a painter, and while my work may look abstract, it’s all taken from life and things I’ve observed. I use anything from photographs I’ve taken on my travels, to things I’ve had photographed for me, like my own DNA and microbiology.
What inspires you and your work?
I am constantly trying to learn and progress and to make a painting that’s better than the last; which is why artists never retire. The creative process, for me, is quite subconscious and gradual. I’m always looking at the world around me and assimilating things into ideas – I’ve learnt to do this because running out of ideas as an artist is painful. Experiencing new things and broadening my horizons is a vital part of the inspiration behind my work.
Is travel important to you?
I travel often, both for pleasure and because I exhibit internationally – and the more I travel the more curious I become. I try to take my 4 year-old as often as possible as there’s no better life lesson than to see and experience new places, colors, smells, cultures. My work tends to evolve from one body of work to the next so things I’ve seen or experienced often don’t surface until a long time afterwards. There is a long gestation process but I’m constantly looking.
What is your favorite place in the world?
I live in London – one of the greatest cities in the world in many senses of the word – but as a consequence some of the places that have affected me the most are the more remote corners of the earth. One of the most inspiring places I’ve ever been is the Taman Negara rainforest in Malaysia – untouched by the ice age, it’s remained essentially the same for 130 million years. It is one of the most spiritually peaceful yet vibrant places I’ve experienced. My next trip is to open an exhibition in Oman, which I’m looking forward to.
How have you realized your goals and ambitions so far in life?
Hard work, determination and never giving up. Being an artist, like many things, is partly about talent but mostly about passion and drive.
What would your advice be for people who want to take ownership of their future?
My advice, for what it’s worth, would be to have no fear of failure and be passionate about what you are doing. This is true of most of the successful people I know. Failure is often just a sign of pushing yourself and people will judge you more by your successes than failures. While I would prefer to have positive experiences, actually many of the negative ones such as rejection, heartbreak or failure, have taught me the most. Criticism will always be more valuable than praise as long as you don’t lose self-belief.
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