Where it all began
My emotional connection with portraiture, music and creating art began in childhood. My father studied watercolour portraiture for seven years for his own enjoyment. He would draw me when I was young, which is a source of fascination to any child. He kept his past portraits in the under stairs cupboard which, somehow, gave their viewing an illicit frisson. My sister and I would seek them out, uncovering film stars like Myrna Loy, with her impossibly arched eyebrows, or paintings with enigmatic titles like, ‘The girl with the mackerel shawl’.
Then, in the 60s, the man who has since become my brother-in-law - a fine art student who still plays mean blues guitar – entered our lives. As an inspirational figure for my far-off future art career, his influence was far reaching. One day, when I was about eight, he asked me who my favourite Beatle was. “John Lennon”, I replied! And, as I sat at his side, he painted Lennon in pop art-style with matt black hair and complementary blue and orange skin, resplendent in his Sargent Pepper’s green and pink uniform, trademark round glasses and moustache. I was entranced!
When he and my sister, more than a decade older than me, moved to digs just off the Kings Road in its 60s heyday, my parents and I made frequent visits. Music-wise it was such an exciting place to be: you rubbed shoulders with Long John Baldry or Elton John and, soon, each visit was punctuated with a gig. There was the intertwining of art and music in album covers - and my sister’s best friend, a graphic designer, even worked for Mel Bush designing band posters for the likes of Led Zeppelin!
So, when I left home, London drew me to it - but as a journalist, not an artist, on my mum’s advice to keep the art I loved as a hobby. Life drawing, museum visits and gigs punctuated my free time as I explored the world and then moved into broadcast news pr. Nearly 20 years passed before I finally swapped my blackberry for a paintbrush and retrained as a portraitist, finding a new visual way of seeing people and the natural world through observance, detail, character, rhythm – and colour.
It took a leap of faith a few years later to unite in my art my journalistic love of visual reportage with my enthusiasm for buskers, blending fine art with a more colourful, graphic style. As resident artist at the Half Moon Putney I now produce original artworks which resonate with music fans who buy them, underlining the power of both art and performance to connect us.