"Most people ignore most art because most art ignores most people. My aim is to include everybody in my art so then hopefully no one will ignore it..."
If I look out of the window of my studio I can see a panoramic view of the Golden Valley near Stroud in Gloucestershire. My studio is on the side of a steep hill, which is probably why there are so many diagonals in my paintings. And no horizontals. Or horizons.
For many years I painted only landscapes but after a trip to China in 2008 I was fascinated by the vast crowds (particularly the synchronised choreography of the Olympics opening ceremony) and decided I couldn't ignore people any longer so let a few into my work. At first I included a few dog walkers and ramblers but very quickly my paintings became completely overcrowded.
In 2009 I began TheCrowdingAboutSeries of paintings, of which there are now twenty-four. These illustrate crowds of people enjoying leisure activities including dancing, cycling, marathon running, exercising, sunbathing, shopping, rambling, sledging, rock-climbing…and so on. Each painting starts as an isometric grid drawing onto which I then paint individual people as motifs in a repeat pattern which builds up to create a human crowd. In theory, as with any pattern, these crowds could extend forever in every direction.
During a recent exhibition the press referred to me as the new Lowry, which is very flattering, but although my paintings may superficially seem to be in a naïve style they do not have any elements of nostalgia. The people in these crowd scenes are contemporary. Instead of working in mills they work in call centres and supermarkets. Instead of walking in the park they go down the gym and run on the treadmills. They live in the modern world.
If you look at my painting of PaintersPainting you’ll see all my favourite painters (sitting in green and purple chairs just like my own). It’s as if I’ve invited them all to join me in my studio and in a way that’s what it feels