Born 1974 in Greater Manchester, UK
Studied BA (Hons) Fine Art Manchester Metropolitan University
Lives and works in Paris
My work is concerned with violence. For more than 20 years I have been attracted to images depicting humans doing something to other humans. More recently, in my Future Cities/ Future Landscapes series I am attempting to highlight the human impact on landscapes and our suffering planet.
The Future Cities and Future Landscapes series started off as dark Utopian/Dystopian images. Mostly black and white, a mixture of print, pen and Chinese ink. They were a way for me to combine war, migration, maps, environment, architecture, infrastructure. All subjects that interest me. As this series has evolved it has become more spacious, subtle and definitely more colourful. This began with the Ikuchijima paintings which I started on my last visit to Japan and continue with today. They were inspired after learning about the struggle locals had with the Japanese government, who were allowing big companies to dump their toxic waste in this beautiful area.
Most of my image sources are from newspapers and the internet. Pictures we have become so accustomed to seeing that I think some of us have become almost immune. Desensitized. It is easy to ignore yet another war, especially if it is not on our doorstep. Pornography is no longer titillating images we once found hidden under our parents’ bed, but increasingly violent and it seems, uncontrolled, unaccounted for, and unrestricted. Anyone can now access it with ease and worryingly it is increasingly becoming a source of education for the next generation.
When I was studying Fine Art at Manchester Metropolitan University at the end of the 20th century, it surprised me that images of a sexual nature were still considered challenging to some people. I was quite late to discover art but had become interested in artists such as Hockney, Warhol, Golub and Wessleman. My school was ‘safe’, and we were pushed in the direction of abstract American art. But around this time British artists such as Hirst, Harvey and Offili were producing striking and sometimes controversial imagery, that to me, seemed to reflect the times we were living in. This interested me enormously. I had grown up rebelling against a strict religious upbringing and I had little time for enforced morality and censorship.
Only just out of my teens but already married, I was continually confused to see the mixed reaction to images of sexuality and pornography. Some people were aggressively appalled while others were fascinated to see any kind of artistic representation of sex. I genuinely couldn't understand the fuss. Sure, pornography is ugly in many ways, but I only had to switch on the tv or open a newspaper to see imagery that I considered to be just as disturbing. There was violence everywhere. I had grown up with it, at home, at school, on the streets where I played, and even at football matches where hooliganism still flourished. My grandparents had witnessed the horrors of WW2 first hand. More recently the terrible war in Vietnam was graphically reproduced in photography books and Hollywood films. There was a huge IRA bomb in my city at the time I was studying that flattened a large part of central Manchester. And in the 1990s alone there were wars in the Gulf, Balkans, ruthless civil wars in Africa, Asia, and South America to name a few. It felt like violence of some kind had shaped my young life. It also seemed that people had become unaffected by seeing wars and destruction, one would quickly replace another and we could easily lose track of them, especially if it was somewhere far away. I wondered why so many people appeared indifferent to the extreme violence we were exposed to as news and also entertainment. And yet showing sexual parts of the body continued to be forbidden.
Into the 21st century and wars continue to rage. Our governments spend billions on weapons each year. With the internet, pornography as become more accessible, more diverse and just as ugly and more violent than ever. My generation has more than contributed to accelerating the destruction of our planet. After more than 20 years of making art, I still feel compelled to produce images on these subjects. In the last few years, I have been striving for my paintings to be beautiful. It is a challenge given some of my chosen subject matter. I’m not really sure exactly why this has become important to me. I have grown up in, and still live in, a violent world. Maybe this is my way to make some sense of it all.
2023 The Power of ART, Shibuya Art Junction/ MONA virtual Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
2022 Portes Ouvertes Montreuil, France
2021 Camille d’Alençon studio, Ivry-Sur-Seine, France (group exhibition)
2021 Galerie Paul 13, Paris, France (group exhibition)
2021 Portes Ouvertes Montreuil, France
2020 Portes Ouvertes Montreuil, France
2019 Openbach Gallery, Paris, France (group exhibition)
2018 Le Bateau Magazine #16 - contribution
2016 Greater Manchester Arts Prize, Manchester, UK (group exhibition)
2006 Magma Store, London, UK - window commission
2005 Grail, Tokyo, Japan (solo exhibition)
2005 New Balance, Manchester, UK (group exhibition)
2003 Dazed, Stoke On Trent, UK (solo exhibition)
2002 Arc Gallery Store, Manchester, UK (solo exhibition)