Thursday, April 13, 2006


'The lord chisels still, so don't leave your bench for long'....
Gilbert & George

Studios are powerhouses, workshops that should be about research and focus.

I can work anywhere as long as it's a dedicated space, and often if it's not, and I've had several fantastic studios. My favourite was in Pixley Street in Limehouse, in the next street to my old flat. I had 400 square feet on the roof of an industrial building off Burdett Road, with an amazing outdoor roof terrace. The bills were paid by my then gallery who were selling my London paintings like hot cakes; I didn't have to do anything other than get up in the morning and walk round the corner and paint, and barely saw an invoice for anything... but then the work took a change of direction and I was dropped like a stone. My next studio was at Cable Street Studios. An enormous Victorian former sweet factory at the corner of Cable Street and Butcher Row and amazingly its still in use as studios and hasn't been turned into posh flats (yet).

These days I have to live-work due to having the job du jour. If I had to schlep up the wrong end of the Hackney Road everytime the muse descended I'd never get any work done. I need to open a door to a room and 'go to it', not hang around hatless looking for a fast black.

If you've been reading this and my other blog for a while you'll know I painted about the East End for years, only recently discovering the subject of my own childhood memory; all those paintings I made of bengali teenagers now seem like a dress rehearsal for the exploration of my own young life.

But the workroom was full of these earlier involvements, all my East London interests (Ackroydian romances) in some way diluted by recent images but not enough. I needed clearer space, and current research to hand.

So I set about destroying my work.

Frenzied canvas-slashing feels both violently wrong and strangely satisfying and the photo is of unsold work, paintings that went wrong, numerous try-outs, rejections and explorations and just sheer crap and frustration stockpiled over about six or seven years.

A couple of people have been horrified that I would wish to destroy my own work, but its my work and I can do what I like with it and I'm glad it's gone: it was absorbing energy like a fucking sponge.

Now the earlier involvements are deleted I feel free and I have plastered the walls with my brains in preparation for new paintings and object-based work.

Doctor Who books, Family photos, Cornish travel Guides, letters, leaflets, maps, drawings, texts, pictures of my brother, my sister, caravans, beaches, sunsets, my teddy bear, cornish postcards sent by my parents last year saying "so many memories here...".

I am cocooned in my current obsession.