Where do your ideas come from?
I try and feed my imagination daily; I read a lot of books, watch lots of movies, I love plays, particularly anything Shakespearean, and I listen to a diverse range of music. I try new activities and visit new places whenever I can. I am open to ideas coming from anywhere; the idea for the ‘Monkey King’ came from a painting of the same title by an artist called Guo Hao Tao which I saw at an Arts Show back in 2007. The inspiration for ‘Pox, ship’s cook’ goes even further back to my childhood as I grew up on the South Coast of England where there were lots of historical stories of pirates and smuggling based on the history of that coastline.
Are there any other materials you use beside paper?
I decided very early on in my career to be a purist; to use only paper. There’s such a wealth of diversity in paper that at the moment I don’t want to use any other materials.
What famous artists have influenced you, and how?
Caravaggio, for his use of chiaroscuro, strong light and dark shadow, and the drama his paintings have. His work captivates me and I am in awe of his talent and skill, particularly in the way he creates solid-looking, beautiful forms. Monet, for his sheer brilliance with colour and texture, his paintings give me an ethereal sense of calm, quite the opposite of Caravaggio. I also love the completely opposite styles of two illustrators, Arthur Rackham and Maxfield Parrish, both so expertly technical in their work and beautiful in their individual styles and equally gifted at storytelling. I love drama, technical achievement, colour and texture, so it’s only natural that these artists would captivate and inspire me.