In 1996 on the island of Kefalonia, off the coast of Greece, I met an old odd man who asked me:
“If it takes a week for a fly to walk a barrel of treacle with hobnailed boots on, how many bananas do you get in a bunch of grapes?” *
This seemingly bizarre question has resonated with me from that moment as young child, his playful words and bundles of riddles were so odd, and I liked that, he was different and anything but a stereotypical pensioner.
In the past few years I’ve moved away from the art in many galleries that I found to be bland and humourless; this was a defining moment, helping to substantiate my own style. It was a crossroads for me, to start my own colourful orgy of edgy and punchy pop surrealism, nodding to the highly influential American lowbrow scene I found myself drawn to.
I’ve had a string of influences over the last few years but finding amusement is the main contender that comes through in my art, and is my main source of inspiration.
Mad magazine was always my favourite thing to look at, then I found Juxtapoz magazine, which blew my mind.
My work combines a frenzied mash of 1950s characters, mass produced plastic and sugary food products. I also like painting eyeballs on things. In my work, I like to play with perspective and contrast. Cheapening imagery is something I genuinely find funny; it keeps me constantly developing my palette and keeps me motivated behind the paint brush.
In these recent works I’ve realised that it’s more than ok to hit the viewer with a solid wall of sugar-coated imagery, but equally important to include an inevitable sugar crash. Bright colours and playful imagery keep the subject matter light, with a heavy comedown that hints something is not quite right and out of kilter.
*There are no bananas in a bunch of grapes.