1 December 2005
I trained as a painter at Wolverhampton Poly and then went on to study History and Theory of Modern Art at Chelsea.
My career as an arts practitioner has been somewhat patchy as quite early on I realised I wasn't getting the same opportunities/experiences as my peers - primarily because I was disabled. As a result I began to work in roles to support disabled artists and potential artists to get equal access to opportunities. I have continued to work in this field, however over the last 3 years I have begun to realise the impact that not engaging in my own practice has had on me.
3 years ago I found a studio and began to make work again, I found that in the winter the studio became so cold that I was unable to paint. So I began to work on small images at home and this is how this series of work began. A continuing theme within my work has been animals as metaphor originally drawing on the witchhunts as source material (being particularly interested in the relationship to the impaired body) and ideas surrounding transmografication (humans transforming into animals).
This series of pictures is called Urban Regeneration and comes from my experience of living in central London and exploring some of the back streets of Kennington. The history in the back streets is loaded with references to Bedlam. Bedlam Mews is a street in Kennington and Hercules Road is where William Blake lived.
I felt that there was a relationship between the hidden lives of disabled people in London and the relationship with the city environment as a whole (not just the built environment) which explores notions of alienation, unacceptability, being somewhere where you shouldn't be, transience, invisibility and vulnerability. So I began by placing exotic or unusual animals in London streets. I then became fascinated by the signage and painting on the roads and began to bring them together. The series is developing. Urban Regeneration: Capybarra in Borough Market is the most recent (and is still work in progress) I want to continue exploring with scale and context. I hope that people connect with them in some way.