Q) It seems that 3D has emerged organically from your painting but did you have any interest in sculpture before conceiving of Changing Spaces or is this a completely new thing for you?
Part of my interest in sculpture and 3D artwork does go back a long way to GCSEs at Chiswick Community School in West London in the early 1990s. We had visiting teacher who introduced me to the media of assemblage. Although this was a short-lived introduction it left a strong impression on me although, at that time, the process of creating the assemblage was often much more appealing that the outcome!
Assemblage was about using found objects and presenting them in their raw state, so when I produced my first 3D artwork in 2010 I used the general ideas of assemblage and added my own style and approach. My aim was to try and strike a balance between the conceptual and the aesthetic. The results off the first group of sculptural works led me to explore other possibilities. Ironically I found myself going back to some basic creative principles I had as a teenager and the freedom to experiment in order to develop ideas. Nearly all my ideas for each sculpture are inspired by the physical process of creating the work. I find it nearly impossible and actually quite restricting to actually plan each piece in terms of preparatory sketches or set processes.
The first 3D work I produced was called Leaded Tree. I had found a piece of tree branch on an industrial estate in the Lee Valley Park and I took it back to the studio intending to carve it in some way. First I found that the tools I was using had a huge impact on the nature of the carving. In fact, it was the chisels themselves which began to dictate the work rather than any ideas I had for it. At that time my studio building was being renovated and I had picked up several scraps of lead which were just sitting in my studio as I was working on the wood. I had often worked with lead doing building work so I knew how supple it was and how easy to shape. The two materials are similar in the sense that both lead and wood are created by nature but each is also very much perceived, and used, as an industrial staple. So these two things just merged to form my first sculptural piece in 2010.