I remember, as a child, lying face down on the lounge carpet with a pencil and pad, drawing. I’d draw imaginary, implausible cars and fabulously, dangerous machines.
I grew up and went to school in North Wales. They didn’t teach or have art classes back then. And this was a big disappointment because I was really good ar art..
When I arrived at the age where career and future education choices are made my father, against his better judgement, eventually caved-in and agreed that I could leave school. I went to Art College. I was 16 and a half!
Life-drawing classes with nude, female models! I was the centre of the universe. My friends were in awe, especially the girls.
From there, Leeds College of Art. Which, at the time, was also the centre of the universe (read ‘Creative License’ by James Charnley). I did Fine Art (Painting).
It was there I met Fitz and Mac. The three of us had one common passion – comedy. We were all christened Philip, with one ‘l’, so that’s what we called ourselves and the hour-long show that we wrote and performed.
We were, without doubt, ahead of our time, the precursors of ‘Alternative Comedy.’ I can only imagine, with luck on our side, what might have been. Sadly it wasn‘t.
Like everyone searching for recognition, fame and fortune I ended up in London. I worked all-nighters creating animation. It’s there that I met Roger Christian who became a best mate. He landed the Art Director gig on the original ‘Star Wars’ and won an Oscar! Enough said. I organised and put on ‘alternative cabaret’ nights at Dingwalls which at the time was London’s number-one night club.
Doors open, paths cross and opportunities flourish. Or sometimes not. The people you meet along the way have a distinct bearing on the choices you make.
I‘m fortunate, I’ve always made a life and living from being creative. It’s never easy. There are dsappointments but they pale into insignificance against the challenge and triumphs of success. Now I paint. I’m not prodigious, my paintings take too long. I’m not sure where the ideas come from nor why I choose the subject matter I do. I think humour is a prevailing element. It’s always there.
Each canvas is carefully planned. I mainly work with acrylics because they were the-go-to medium in my early, mural-painting career. I feel secure with them. I create all the images I use. For example, if it’s a still life then I’ll set the whole thing up, source the objects, move things around, photograph it and work from the print.
If, on the other hand, I stumble upon images online, for example I might see the ideal landscape, then I’ll invariably muck around with it in Photoshop ‘til I’m satisfied my original idea is realised. I’ve already bought the canvas so now all I have to do is make sure it fits. Easy!
The exciting thing is that everything that triggers imagination and ideas is constantly changing and with that your horizons change too. That’s all there is to painting a masterpiece. Simple!