Throughout my career in industrial design, fashion and teaching, I have always maintained a passionate need to paint.
The styling and content is obviously influenced by the patterning and colouration used in textiles.
In addition to the textile influence, my background of being part of the post-war Pop-Art explosion that took place in London during the late 1950’s and early 1960’s is still a major motivator. Jazz and innovative new music is also a key ingredient to the mix.
When I was in London in the 1960’s attending the Royal College, the place was alive with ground-breaking innovation.
Traditional values and rules were also being challenged. Art was being liberated and it no longer mattered if you were a designer or painter, you were all artists together with no boundaries or limitations.
I was fortunate to be in the same student group as David Hockney and Zandra Rhodes and many stories could be told on how the perimeters of good and bad taste were challenged.
One of the major events that helped to spark off this new arrangement was the first exhibition in London of American Modern Painters held at the American Embassy. This exhibition featured the massive Franz Kline Paintings as well as the stunning work of Jackson Pollock. The effect that this show had on us students was “earth-shattering”. Up until this time, Art College teaching was heavily influenced by Scandanavian tasteful and the simplicity of design. The revolution in thinking took place almost immediately and the creative work produced at this time had no boundaries.
Examples of my work during this period are published in the Victoria and Albert Museums British Textile British Textile Design from 1940 to the Present, V & A publications 1999.
Music and fashion in the 1950’s and 1960’s also played a very important roll in the development of the new pop culture. I was an active member of the college band and we played many gigs in and around the London jazz and blues circuit. This scene was the basis for the Rhythm and Blues influence that helped to form the pop movement which included groups like The Rolling Stones.
At this time American jazz greats were able to visit and play in the UK for the first time since the War. I was able to see and listen to the likes of Miles, Stan Getz, Louis Armstrong, Dizzy, Cannonball and Basie. I spent many nights at Ronnie Scotts Club in Soho where I was a founder member. This free and improvised music is still central to my thinking when creating my decorative works today.
After gaining several years experience in the industry and teaching in the UK, I had the desire to travel and explore more of the world.
I was very fortunate to be able to work my way around the globe and have now worked and lived in Europe, Africa, and Australasia.
My work has also taken me to the USA, Japan, China, Asia and the Middle East. The experience of seeing so many great cultures has added to the subjects I now tackle and ethnic themes tend to feature strongly in my later works.
I am now permanently settled in New Zealand and we live locally in Howick.
Painting and finding and playing new music now happily dominates my life.