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When I left Beijing many years ago I wondered whether the then prevailing optimism about all manners of economic development would one day lead to a time when the Beijingers would look back and realize that they’d thrown away too much tangible evidence relating to their past. And when I arrived in Hong Kong a decade later I still loved the energy that is Asia but also wanted to record in my artwork the traditions and beliefs here, to keep alive a connection between present and past which can in turn provide a strong springboard for future evolution. There are memories in Hong Kong relating to its having once been primarily a seafaring city, memories of many varied historical events. These are kept alive in Hong Kong's colourful festivals.

 

It's good to see people and places from the perspective of being an outsider, a foreigner who may not readily take habits and customs for granted. I've loved going slowly round China and Hong Kong (in particular) collecting material, evaluating it and then bringing it together.

 

I look constantly at the work of other artists. My list of favourite artists, enlivening friends, is forever changing. Presently I'm learning from Manolo Valdes, Dufy, Matisse, Barbara Rae, Peter Callesen, Su Blackwell and Kayama Matazo and from illustrators such as Isabelle Arsenault, Oyvind Torseter, Petr Hroacek, Anne Herbauts, Eric Battut, Brian Wildsmith, Sara Ogilvie, Hans Fischer, and Jon Klassen.

 

I often retain my use of (brush) line as tone when I draw – as I started to draw & paint in Beijing, where I was taught to imitate and appreciate the Chinese 20th century masters from Qi Bai Shi onwards. I plan broadly what I will want to put into a final artwork, then paint, or sometimes monoprint, on to absorbant Chinese papers. I hand print using oil based inks, often using collagraphs and an offset litho press. I work in a gradual experimental way; I like the tension between oil and water, between permanence and transcience. I tear up, cut up, recreate. I'm increasingly interested in new ways of using papers and textures, on what can lie on one level of a paper and what might then be physically, tangibly, superimposed upon it.

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