NAFF GRAFIX - 2016
My work, which I term as 'Naff Grafix' is an emphatic embrace of dynamic formalism encasing the grit of British suburbia. Working mostly in digital print with Photoshop as my conduit and aluminium as it's support, my works are the proposition of an uplifting otherworld. Resulting in abstract digital paintings, they are lyrical, confrontational and excitable. Having come from a suburban teen goth background, I am deeply affected by underground movements and the way in which these can visually rile up society. I am fascinated with the edge where drab reality can be swallowed up by optimistic visual imposition.
House of Love - 2013
“Not bothered about your Colour
Concerned about your Creed
in the House Of Love Everybodys Free”
East 17, House of Love, London Records, 1992
My work is about escapism in both its most aspirational and desperate forms. Growing up in Hemel Hempstead, the New Town Eldorado for bombed-out Londoners I have always been entranced by the Facades which clad the squat 'brutalist' and Faux Art Deco buildings of The Marlowes shopping Arcade, which I first wandered thru then stormed against with my pink hair/Cat Collar combo and then fled from in my Buffalo Boots into the facewarming, all accepting lights of London.
It's about the jagged neons adorning the Leisure World Clubs; Visage and Ethos into which I was never admitted despite the irony that I was the only one clad in Leisure Wear. It's about the gargantuan cutouts depicting sweaty Jazz Musicians lining the walls of this temple to Free-Time, which now linger as omens of a past as flat as their MDF supports. It's about the Civic concrete sculptures in Hemel Town Centre - the fountain sculpted with gymnast children now dry of water and the stony dancing couple rising from the Water Gardens now encased in Bird Crap. It's the mosaic map of the Hertfordshire area with King Henry VIII on his mighty steed now coldly and impotently clinging to the side of the disused NCP. Even though still ringing in my visual memory, I don’t intend to dwell on this small town mentality within my work for fear continuing the dry rot.
My work is a cascade of colour and form which spurts out uplifting and energising splashes of blind enthusiasm. My first vessels for this were my teen obsession East 17 culminating in a 9ft high Brian Harvey Cutout (complete with cartoon guts-spillage from when he ran himself over) for my degree show at the RA in 2009. However when the now desperate E-17 put their Press Guy in touch inviting me to meet them, the fantasy was instantly inverted; I declined and kept a white knuckled grip on my Teen Dream.
After having recovered from that final dropping of the Media Mask, I have become intrigued by the eternal fountain of Youth Culture; the constructed formal aura around the 80's/90's Pop Realm. Rather than the obedient depiction of these fallible figures, I realised I could create my own Leisure World which constantly evolves. Utilizing the devices which I was once captivated by as my own tools, I construct unerring visions of a bountiful Otherworld which feels familiar yet startling. My work has now become abstract collages of digital drawing with colour fades, off kilter blocks and swirling pastel ribbons, building an aesthetic which I call 'Naff Graphics'. Photos of Hemel I have taken from Rodchenko angles with an injection of acid colours hang as oversized stickers behind my metal cutouts and wrapped Transit Doors, whilst cheeky yet construed titles encourage and an overall feeling of irreverence toward the belief of attitude as an end in itself. I hope for these works to exude as much energy as a fresh copy of Look In! and Roland Rat Annuals and for the House of Love to become re-mystified by the boldest means possible.
Leisure World - 2011
A turquoise and lemon yellow beacon of guaranteed good times, seated high above the suburban sprawl of Hemel Hempstead, Leisure World was my adolescent Mecca of fun. Now faded to quieter shades of sky blue and primrose, with many of the jazzy signs becoming unkempt and tatty, it has become my personal allegory for the demystification of the world through the process of growing up. Leisure World still towers defiantly next to the flash new Snow Centre which is much slicker but no way as lovable as it's forefather. Something has been lost with time and it is this feeling of longing for the untouchable which I hope my work draws from and exudes it's own character and defiant presence on the wall.
My work celebrates commercial visuals which may be stylistically outdated, but retain a powerful presence through their innate dynamism. Working in a Post-Pop climate, I extract tropes from 90's graphics and encourage these toward formal excess through the process of digital drawing. Also holding a fascination with suburban leisure signage, the resultant works are exuberant collages of dynamic lines and calligraphic strokes colliding and compacting themselves onto their aluminium support. I see my work as a simultaneous deconstruction and veneration of mass visuals, becoming retro yet progressive at the same time.
Floating in space, these cut-outs behave as signs without particular meaning but instead emanate an unutterable sense of boldness and dynamism. Miming 90's 'Naff Graphics' and turning them to face the world in their new guise as artworks, this is the point at which the everyday becomes exotic and the familiar fantastic.
This is not simple sampling of popular imagery however; there is no 'cut and paste' involved, instead a more personal language is developed through their digital drawing on a tablet PC. As gestural marks collide with angular frameworks, I hope for clear and inventive visions to arise from the congealed detritus of consumerist imagery which I absorb on a daily basis. Whilst the input may come from the cloud of mass culture, these are each definite personalised statements, holding their own ground. The 'look of leisure' is mined and exploded, with hopeful and entertaining works resulting from this. Through my work I hope to re-mystify the visual world and produce oracles for our own times - a new form of constructivism for 2012.