Within these galleries lie the results of a thirty years plus diligent obsession with drawing. I use the word drawing first and foremost as it is the basic underlying principle behind all the subsequent artwork produced here. Drawing was the great early influence on my life. I picked up early on that drawing was a basic way of putting the world under a microscope and finding what was really there. It is first and foremost a process of observation. Imagination to me has not been an escape but a way of finding reality. As with those fabulous Leonardo anatomical drawings of the 15th and 16th centuries I see draughtsmanship as a means of tracking down the truth. I take the philosophical standpoint that there is a thing called truth that permeates through under examination. Leonardo's scrutiny of the world tapped into the universe as pictures from the Hubble space telescope or the world seen through an electron microscope now do.
Parallel to this lies a battle out of mental oblivion (see biography).The climb out of this hell has left me high and dry as a functioning member of society. It is now plain to me that turning out these images is all I am fit for and I intend spending my remaining years doing just that. I am fortunate that this occupation has material, physical results and that posterity will hopefully see the fruits of this labour. Not everybody, in fact very few people at all, can say that. I actually make something that people in years to come will see and remember my name by. I'm lucky. I just wish that I could have seen this clearly years ago.
I owe a debt to one of the greatest names in British art. I was not initially influenced by painters because, apart from Stanley Spencer, I didn't know of any in any depth. I fell in love with the work of Carl Giles very early on. My parents were astute enough to realise this and every Christmas from about 1963, when I was twelve, I got the DAILY EXPRESS annual. Forget the notion of cartooning. Giles did sublimely what I am attempting to do. His illustrations were so funny because they were genuine observations of ourselves. His characters are hilarious because they are believable. I now have all his annuals back to 1956 through to the last. I owe Carl Giles a deep depth of gratitude for his influence on my life.
I never refer to myself as an artist and I am deeply suspicious of people who do. Artistry is an accolade that is bestowed, not a title that one takes. I refer to myself as an illustrator first and a painter almost in the same breath. Nor am I a great fan of "fine art" as something fundamentally relevant to life and civilisation. I think pictures that are not reproduced in the media are curiosities. People like Tracy Emin fill this cultural void as fine art relentlessly persists in asserting its existence by means of grants and sponsorship and the need to find something "new" to put in art galleries. Such people succeed brilliantly in attacking our perceptions of what art is which is all to the good but they do not have any artistic relevance. Rock music is far more relevant to the modern world than someone in Hampstead paying thousands of pounds to put a Howard Hodgkin on their wall.
Despite all this there is something fundamental about putting a mark on a two-dimensional surface. Painting, despite it's social exclusion and fake veneration remains one of the highest human achievements. I don't claim to have fulfilled this position,but then again that does not mean I haven't.