I lived in England for most of my life and, since moving to the USA in 2003 my art has been driven by my fascination with the scale, the diversity, and the rawness of the American landscape, and especially the unresolved interface between the man-made and the natural.
As I became increasingly aware that my being the newcomer and outsider is central to my viewpoint, I started to explore ideas of migration and immigration which eventually became the central theme of my recent work.
I'd never seen groups of day laborers waiting for work until I came to the US and I was simultaneously shocked, confused and fascinated by what I saw. My fascination has grown as the topic has become a bigger political issue. I find a huge disconnect between “Immigration” as a political entity and immigration as an individual experience made up of many small, unique and personal dramas.
I looked online for images of day laborers and found the main source of them to be extreme anti-immigration activist sites such as www.minutemenproject.com and the extraordinary www.familysecuritymatters.org. In this work, I aimed to re-purpose those images and to pay homage to the personal, human stories behind the people in them.
Other “invisible underdog” figures represented in subsequent work include coal miners from the north of England, prison inmates, homeless and mentally ill characters, and wandering coyotes.
I like to think that my choice of materials speaks well to the subject and content of the work. Though the pieces are essentially paintings, I choose to use construction materials rather than conventional art materials. No paint is involved, instead I build up and sand away layers of pigmented cement in which I can embed found objects, metal and wood. I’m currently experimenting with developing the wood aspects of the pieces with constructed relief elements and “router-drawings” cut into the wood.