You may want to see my Abridged CV and background information.
I have a fascination for the chaotic and seeming random order of nature. I examine, play and interpret its texture, patterns and rhythms and try, with expressive immediacy, to tease out its hidden sense of order.
I like the challenge of discovering new possibilities and using different materials At present, oil pastels and paints are of particular interest. New ways of mark making inform and feed my curiosity. I particularly like the layering possibilities, which oil pastels allow with the lower layers of colours, revealed by scratching through the surface. This opens up the interesting notion of hidden harmonies and metaphors: what we see on the surface resonating with what we feel underneath.
The volume and textured language of dense oil paint has always struck a chord with me: a colourful man-made dimension linked to its common cousin and to the earthy realities of clay.
I love the feeling of the elements, the severe wind and driving rain or perhaps a more private moment as a “drip, drip” melody plays out in a puddle. Sensing the soundless cloak of fresh snow and the healing heat of a summer sun, watching the wind working on the water, intuition and instinct kicks in and I draw inspiration and ideas from these fleeting experiences. Something of their momentary-ness I want to capture…so the work goes on.
Painting… First Encounters
I shall never forget my first encounter with paint.
Five years old is at an impressionable age.
And I was too over-excited and impatient, at having to wait my turn.
It was to prove an all to heady mixture, when added to the mesmerising cocktail of colours. Heaps of dead powder promisingly transformed to life with water. Here was trouble in deliciously daring shades. Colours, bright and bold. Colours that were simply too big for the page. With no particular outcome in mind I set about freely exploring; swishing and sploshing.
Colours readily took to the wooden Easel-frame, ran down the brush and coated fingers that were soon alert to a fresh focus.
This was strong new magic;
red without a care,
and then an irresistible urge;
bright yellow, the perfect match, in somebody else’s hair.
And immediately onwards with a bold dash of electric blue
to brightened up the stark white shirt of some interfering little ‘other’ who strayed too close with unwanted advice…
Why did he cry so and stare??
So lesson one ended rather abruptly, with heavy telling-off- tones ringing in my ears and the gritty, humiliating, banishment of an isolated sandpit.
Luckily I was not too diminished or traumatised by the gritty repercussions of the power of paint. Based on seemingly nothing in particular and in common with a zillion other little people at school I also dreamed that one day I would be an artist, someday… but it wasn’t until ten years later at the age of fifteen that anything actually happened to aid this illusion. The art master randomly selected one of my paintings (Stylized Sunset) to hang for a week in the general corridor outside the art class. It was a ripple and a tiny needed nod of acceptance and it sowed a seed in a school boy’s ego…
Tony emerged as an artist over twenty years ago to critical acclaim… or then again it might have been too much criticizing and exclaiming!!
“Who??” Sunday Times magazine 1985
“He did a nice job in Magnolia in the spare room” Dave Sheffield (One time employer – Painting contractor) 1990
“I think he’s got it all completely wrong” Victor Magrie his teacher and art critic 1993
“He’s in the garden painting the flowers” ex-wife to ex-mother in law, commenting on missing husband. 1994
Better known in the past for his numerous exhibitions in ceramics his work was characterised and known for its rhythmic forms and understated fluid-glazes. Occasionally these ceramics exhibitions included both his clay work and paintings. Now, however, Tony works exclusively on his paintings and drawings.
Despite his heady early successes he has struggled to maintain a veneer of normality and anonymity by continuing to engage in alternative employment. He still selflessly maintains a daily presence at university as a necessary type of grounding ritual; a deliberate counterbalance to the heady ego-inflating possibilities associated with excesses of the art world.
Following a momentous event in July in 2007 Tony has had the surprising and sobering opportunity to start his painting and drawing career afresh, as during the course of one week-end a fire destroyed the entire department where he worked. Ironically in his office for safe keeping were hundreds of drawing and paintings, which represented a more or less complete back catalogue from the previous twelve years of work!!