For a while now I’ve been thinking about what has shaped my visual language and informed my art and design tastes. As a result I have planned a few blog entries in which I will evidence some of my thoughts in terms of influence and my art / design practice.
In some recent press interviews I’ve been asked about my inspiration and I tend to consider the formative years as pretty vital in this regard. It makes sense that we develop strong feelings and bonds to what we experience as children, either to reject them or embrace them – either way I believe those early years help to form our adult judgements.
Looking beyond the windows of the house in rural Norfolk where I was brought up is what I consider one of the greatest inspirations to my work. The open fields, the clear horizon lines and sparse distractions across the farmland of Norfolk have stayed with me in relation to my way of seeing, composition and economy of information in much of my work. Why draw ten lines when I can say it with one? I had a particularly horrid visiting tutor in the beginning of my training who felt that I was lazy in my designing, when actually it was he who struggled with some of the simplicity I was aiming for.
Looking back over some of the works I have made in the last fifteen years there are a few key pieces that explain that relationship with the horizon.
‘Nine Perspectives’, a linocut is made up of diagrams where I explore the land, sea and sky in a variety of ways. I consider the horizon in two-dimensional form, in plan view, elevations and diagrammatic perspectives in order to gain a sense of order.
‘Meadows (France)’ is a drawing of a beautifully simple valley near Gourdon. It gave me a perfect view to explore further skewed interpretations of perspectives seen in the landscape. I worked with a sense of the view working round a set square, with two horizons, as I looked in front and to the side of me.
The final image is from a screen printed artist’s book I made several years ago exploring the idea of ‘half full’ as a state of mind, but also from each side of the horizon line. I have used the blue areas as either half full of water (the Norfolk Broads specifically) or half full of sky above the chickens. The folded structure implies a view through the use of perspective, looking in to the distance or reflecting on oneself.
These three works are very old as far as I’m concerned. I have new creative concerns now but they have helped me to test and explore principles in the way that I see and draw that have been important along the way.