I was born and spent my early years in a small village in north Devon; from there I moved to Somerset and on to Bristol where I studied a graphic design degree, graduating in 2001. When my wife and I decided to move out of the city a decade later, being close to the sea once again was an important factor for me and we settled on the North Somerset coast.
Following my degree, I joined a small interior graphics agency; 18 years later we are a successful business working across the world, I am now the creative director and own a share of the business. I believe my background in graphic design has had a large influence over my approach to my artwork, both with the use of colour and the bold nature of the finished pieces.
The materials that I use are all found my myself (and generous friends) on the beaches of the UK. All my life I have had an interest in collecting coastal finds, especially sea pottery, and decided a few years ago that I should use my thousands of shards and begin a series of works.
Sea pottery is much lesser known than the more popular sea glass which is widely collected, but I believe it to have so much more interest. The majority of sea glass originated from glass bottles, single use items, probably consumed and discarded the same day. Sea pottery on the other hand was potentially a more treasured item, a dinner set, a milk urn, a figurine or pepper pot. The painted or transferred designs appeal to me and the thrill in finding a shard and turning it over to reveal a fraction of a once complete image never ends. Where possible I like to try to trace the origin of the shard and I’ve discovered fragments that can date back 300+ years which is intriguing as it means that although my work is modern, the contents are Edwardian, Victorian, Georgian or even older. I am obsessed with the questions that these shards ask: who did they belong to, in what historical era did they exist, and why did they end up in the sea for hundreds of years?
Not a weekend goes past without a trip to the beach; these days usually accompanied by my two rescued lurchers and my four-yea-old son. After four years he is a keen beachcomber himself; he often finds the best bits and I have to persuade him to part with them, usually with the aid of sweets!