Growing up in a holiday destination, small, seaside town it is not surprising that much of my work has referenced the sea, the beach and the littoral. In this series of paintings I find that the canvases echo the marks, lines and shapes that we made in the wet, grey sand of my home town beach: thus the canvas becomes the beach that acted as the canvas of my child-hood.
Acting as our playground the beach provided space for mark-making, inscribing names and strange messages to the gods, hop-scotch, drawing out goal posts or marking out our own particular spaces.
In these works I have been reflecting on how Britain sees itself as a nation: a nation apart or part of a global community? During last summer I visited a number of south coast seaside towns and was struck by the shapes of fortress constructions from castles to Martello Towers and the abandoned pill boxes of WW2. If they haven’t been saved by English Heritage or converted into smart holiday homes they have fallen into disrepair and ruin. I like the shapes and lines of such buildings and have employed them in these paintings; for me they echo the small sandcastles we patted out on the wet sands during the long summer holidays.
Along with scratched childhood messages to the gods, our childhood castles in the sand were built to keep out the marauding tidal waters; today, I believe, these tidal images represent something more sinister referencing an incoming wave of bigotry and intolerance. And whilst these are not overtly political works I find within them a questioning on the notion of place, identity and belonging.