I have been an art student since I was about 20, 40 years. I didn't take a conscious decision to become an artist, one day I just realized that I was creating art every hour of my waking day. I would wake up in the morning, in my bed cloths, look at one of my creations in progress, think I'll just do that before I get dressed, and then discover that night fall had arrived and I was still wearing my bed cloths, actually I always slept nude.....
My living space became my studio. I held my first solo exhibition in the mid 1970's in a gallery in Menston, West Yorkshire UK. All the works were silk paintings. I also took part in an exhibition at the Chenil Gallery, Kings Rd London.
Actually, I was more interested in the creation than the business side of art. Most of my works were sold to personal contacts.
By 1979, money was getting short. I discovered that I could attend college has a mature student and receive a very good student grant, especially compared to today's situation.
From 1979 to 1982 I attended the North East London University (formly called North East London Poly). For the first two years, I did a Diploma in Higher Education by Independent Study, which meant I got to design my own study program. I decided to stay away from the Art Dept and instead headed for the Textile Dept. There I had a great tutor, Doreen Dyall RA. It turned out to be a wise decision.
During this time I joined the 62 Group of Textile Artists, and took part in their exhibitions. During my second year I was invited to transfer to the Goldsmith College but I would have to start again from the first year, which translates into having no grant for my final year. Also I was enjoying Doreen Dyall and we had a good tutor student relationship.
I never attended college for the qualifications, I was never interested in those things, I just wanted sometime to develop my creations. I got my diploma. I enrolled for another year to do a BA (Hons) but half way through I lost interest in the whole college thing and dropped out.
Anyway, I am a lifetime art student and I only get to graduate at the moment of my death.....
From 1982-1994 I did less and less of my art creations, and more and more of the survival thing.
In 1994, along with my Japanese partner, we moved to Tokyo. Spent the first six months there and then moved to the beautiful Japan Alps. We stayed until the end of 2002, then moving to Kobe City.
Since my arrival in Japan I have been a full time art student and artist. I was forced to sort out the business side of my creations because here I have no other way to survive, there are no alternatives, it was live or die!
Everyday I create. I have created art, exhibited art, sold art. To date I have sold more than 300 works.
Shortly after our arrival in Kobe City I held an important exhibition and was introduced to CAP House, which is an art project started after the Great Earthquake in 1995. It is a art NPO housed in a building built in 1928, the former emigration center for Japanese moving to Brazil. I have my studio there and I'm here most days. It is a very short walk from our home, so it's like a village thing. I can walk to most places with Kobe City. There are mountains and sea.
Aug 07: I made an 'Artist in Residence' program at CAP House, Kobe City from 2003-2007.
I have concentrated on acrylic painting and sometimes watercolors. I work on wood, canvas, silk, paper especially Japanese silk paper. In the case of silk and silk paper I use spun silk which means the silk moth is not killed. The silk and silk paper is made from the remaining rubbish, it's a recycling thing.
I like acrylics for all the health reasons but mainly because I like to work very fast so I don't think too much. With oils, there's a lot of thinking time. During my stay in the Japan Alps (10,000 feet above sea level) I concentrated on landscape painting. My house-studio was 1000 feet above sea level with a great view of snow capped mountains. I always worked outside. This involved much very hard effort climbing mountains, carrying my equipment. I would visit places that could not be reached except by foot. There was danger, wild bears and snakes.
I studied the works of the great Japanese painter, Higashiyama Kaii, It was also fortunate that located near my studio in Nagano City was his museum which give me the opportunity to study his actual works. He painted until he was 99 years. I received a letter of encouragement from him. Since living in Kobe city I have returned to seascapes and other abstract works.