I was recently honoured to be interviewed by the lovely people at Astaura who specialise in mural wallpapers. Apparently, their bestselling wallpaper is mine! If you want to find out a little about me then read on…
Talk us through your typical working day…
Unless I'm out on a location, my typical day starts with a quick check of the weather forecast for the day as well as the week ahead. Depending on the forecast, I may make changes to my short term shooting plans or I might decide to pay a particular location a visit that day. Assuming the forecast doesn't have me jumping in the car straight away, my next step is a cup of coffee while catching up on social media and perhaps choosing an image to post to Instagram later that day. I'll often do a little photographic reading as it's a good to keep abreast of the industry and image market trends as there is always something to learn or inspirational to discover.
Once the fun stuff is out of the way it's time to check emails and then my diary for jobs I need to work on. Often this means admin such as invoices, VAT returns etc. but might also include planning photography trips, researching new locations to visit, preparing my next blog post and of course making prints for customers. I'll also use this time to clean camera gear and check everything is in good working order, especially if I was at the coast or somewhere muddy the previous day.
Once all this is done, I move onto working on my backlog of images that need preparing for sale (there is always a backlog.) Finally, weather dependant, I'll set off to my next location for some photography. If I'm lucky, I'll get out three or four times a week with my camera to make new images, or checkout new locations. During busy periods, especially spring and autumn, I'll spend a few weeks at a time away visiting and photographing locations.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I don't think I really knew to be honest. When I was very young I wanted to be a doctor. I have no idea why as my only experience of doctors back then was having a needle shoved in my arm but my planned career was cut short when I discovered I wasn't good with blood. I loved art and science at school and I suppose I had some vague notion of doing something involving these but nothing specific.
What or who inspired you to become an artist?
My inspiration came from a number of sources ranging from teachers at school to my father who painted watercolours when I was young. My earliest memory of being inspired by a piece of art was seeing the iconic flying pig over Battersea power station on the cover of Pink Floyd's Animals album as a young boy. I had no idea who Pink Floyd were but I was mesmerised not only by the concept of the flying pig but also the quality of the light and the colour of the sky. It would be a long time before I turned my camera towards such a sky, or even got up early to appreciate the dawn light, but the seeds of my landscape images were sown. By coincidence a few years ago I bought a camera off one of the photographers who were hired to make this image. I don't know if it was his shot that was used (I didn't ask) but it was great to hear about how he shot the pig from a helicopter when I asked him about it.
What is your favourite piece of art that you’ve ever created?
I don't know if I have a favourite piece. I have two empty frames hanging in my living room. They've been there for years waiting for me to choose two images to print but I've not been able to pick two favourites. I consider a small selection as my best work and I can think of many that I have a strong emotional attachment to or were particularly challenging to make, but I still find it hard to actually choose favourites. In a way they are my children so it's hard to choose between them.
Is there anything that you don’t like about your job?
Admin and tax returns!
If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be and why?
Storm Thorgerson. Storm was the creative genius behind many iconic music albums for bands such as Muse, The Cranberries and Pink Floyd (including, of course, that flying pig). His surreal images have always appealed to my way of thinking. To work with him would have been an amazing opportunity but sadly he passed away a few years ago and the unlikely possibility became an impossibility.
What's your dream job - the one job you'd love to have if you weren't doing what you're doing now?
In all honesty this is my dream job. I can think of nothing else I'd rather be doing.
Where does your inspiration for your work come from?
My inspiration is varied and comes from imagery I see in film, posters, magazines and online. Inspiration comes from numerous artists too and if I were to draw a short list these would be the English Romantic painter, Joseph Turner and Landscape photographers Ansel Adams, Joe Cornish and Charlie Waite.
What’s the most unusual item on your work station?
A dead corpse. I try and keep my workstation clutter free, although it’s anything but that today, and I don't like anything on it that doesn't serve a functional purpose. My daughter gave me this rubber man with a hole in his chest for a pen as a Christmas present a couple of years ago. I am sure this was to mess with my mind because she knew I'd dislike having it spoiling my desk. I'm too afraid to hide it away (she regularly checks).
In which room would you have an Astaura wallpaper and how would you style it?
My living room to replace those empty frames! It would have to be something of the great outdoors.