So why am I making pictures of a local town?
I think its become increasingly hard to draw and paint a local street in a way that isn’t just another standard naff scene with some buildings, a few cars and people, the odd tree. How do you avoid it being tame, old hat, or just plain cheesy?
You’ve just got to find a new way of seeing it.
And what an opportunity that presents: with just a pencil and some colours, you get the chance to reinvent an ordinary street scene. To enter into a dialogue with some of the greatest artists and thinkers in history, to venerate and keep a ‘conversation’ alive and ticking.
To respond to their pictures by making an original contribution of your own. This is why I'm drawing and painting these streets and buildings.
How do you begin to go about achieving this?
The aim, if possible, is to interpret the same thing again and again until it becomes so familiar that you forget what it really looked like at the beginning.
When it stops looking like what you think you know and what you’re trying to represent, it starts to work in a new unknown way.
If I just keep going, repeating myself by redrawing and reworking or making new versions of the same thing, I can sometimes grasp a window of opportunity when an ordinary car or postbox can become an extraordinary one because it isn’t like anyone else’s… What happens?
The lines and marks begin to flow continuously, making loops and bubbles of scribble that don’t really make sense close-up, so that when you look at a little patch of the picture it seems odd and unintelligible, but when you look more at the whole and piece the parts together it starts to makes sense in a surprising way, because it shouldn’t really look like a church window or a car, but it really does.
In fact, when looking close up, I love it if whatever I’m trying to interpret looks ridiculously clunky, laughably loopy or ungainly, impossibly cranky or cumbersome, yet is seriously convincing, making complete sense in the picture as a whole.
This is what I’m plugging away at the whole time: Trying to pin down a place in the simplest most natural way possible. It sounds sort of weird, but it seems like you’re trying to ‘sneak around the side of reality', to find another way to get past it, so that its not just another street scene. Yes it may be a familiar street, one that you know well, but when you stop and look its hopefully quite an odd picture of one. And if it works well, it should look really natural and effortless.