I am a painter living and working in London. I studied at Central St Martins and Camberwell College of Art and have held a studio since 2004.

My practice as a painter is based very simply on my love for the medium and it’s natural characteristics and my instinctive need to indulge in the physical act of painting. Like so many painters I know, I experience a constant base urge to make things. This urge manifests as a growing frustration and a pressure which is released only when I am absorbed in the act of making a painting. When I stop, it begins to build again. I paint as a response to an essential instinctual need. I couldn’t give any reasonable explanation as to why I should focus on painting over any other medium or behaviour. I suppose I’m just lucky that way.

This being the case, the paintings I make are, in a way, products of necessity. In truth I am able to derive a certain satisfaction from any kind of painting, be it in a fine art context, or indeed painting a skirting board in household gloss. However a penchant for the materialist moves me to make paintings specifically, which is to say I want to produce painted objects from which a viewer is able to derive some positive feeling. In this respect I suppose it is possible to divide my practice in two – the behaviour and the object. The behaviour fulfils a base need, and the object fulfils a material desire. Between when the last mark is made and when the painting is dry something changes, such that the behaviour ceases and the object appears.

In the object I am searching for something essential; indefinable characteristics of the medium which, when combined well, exhibit something quite singular and unique to painting. I do not look to employ paint to do my bidding – it won’t. Rather I hope to work with it and find some common ground on which it may do what it wants within the simple boundaries I set for it.

Deciding whether a painting ‘works’ is a subjective thing. Some do and some just don’t. Every aspect of a painting that contributes to its appearance – colour, form, tone, composition, medium, size, scale, depth and material of the support – all are part of the equation, but they cannot be calculated ahead of time. As frustrating as it is, only the end result can be judged. And everyone’s rules are different. In my book, for a painting to work it must engender a positive visual response. This is a vague statement, but making a painting is often a vague pursuit. The positivity can be anything that encourages the viewer to keep looking – beauty, intrigue, satisfaction, or whatever makes them go back for more. Whatever makes it hard to dismiss. If I can easily determine anything that makes a painting easy to dismiss, then it does not work. If I can’t then I shall chalk it up as successful.

The object stands on its own merits – it is a painting and lives or dies by its physical, visual qualities. It does not communicate more than those things. It will not profess alternative conceptual reading as a way to artificially inflate its intellectual value. It is a physical, material, tangible thing made for these reasons and therefore performs in this arena. It is not transcendent. It does not speak in tongues. It is not spiritual and it is not a messenger or conduit for other information. Its essence is as an object of humble material and construction and nothing else.

I suppose mine are fairly modest aims that do not advance the pursuit of painting beyond what already exists in its grand history, but striving to push boundaries is not what drives me. Painting is a deeply personal pursuit which is inextricably bound up in my own life and history. I employ it quite openly as a means to improve my experience of being and to help me maintain myself in a state I wish to be. It is impossible for me to write a statement that will cover all eventualities, past, present and future. At times work I make will contradict what I have written, but this statement should at least remain a basic grounding for the way I approach painting. Creativity is a flighty, unruly, unpredictable thing and to pin it down to a single mission is probably contradictory to its nature. Nonetheless we try, perhaps as much to clarify it for ourselves as to explain it to anyone else. The drive to make things comes from a deep, instinctive place. Despite expending a good deal of time, thought and consideration on putting something down in writing it remains a force not easily explained. Ultimately, for anyone reading this, most everything you need to know to enjoy my paintings is right there in the work itself. If looking at it is proves to be a positive experience for you, then you already know everything you need to.

One thought on “About

  1. Helen

    Hi Tom
    Fascinated with your process and progress thru instagram – and just followed the trail to your website. Love the manifesto…going to type out a line and stick it on my wall. Too, too often my practice is laden with unnecessary (self-inflicted) pressure! So …just wanted to say thanks!!
    And could you add me to your mailing list for paintings please…

    Have a great week


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *