Art, Design and Photography

At an early age I had a great talent for drawing, which teachers and students from infant school onwards truly appreciated. In fact, my ability was not as great as my brothers, who liked to copy the superheroes from Marvel comics with impressive results. But, as I grew older my abilities grew, so much so that I took my O Level Art exam at 13 years old and everyone thought, including my Secondary School Art Teacher* that I was eventually going to pursue a life in art.

The Office

Before I went to St Martin's for my Art Foundation, I had not only taught myself to paint with oils, but I was designing posters for the LOST Theatre, and I had taken an A Level in Printmaking at the London College of Printing (LCP), where I had learned to do Silkscreen Printing, Etching and Lithography. My time at St Martin's proved invaluable, mainly because I was drawing and painting all day, every day of the week, and that I was surrounded by other 'best artists in the school'. This evoked feelings of exceptionality - that we were a small, but elite fraternity - and ordinariness - that my talent was no longer unique amidst the talented - at the same time.

I guess during my foundation, my coursework could have been considered more Graphic Design than Fine Art in its approach (which would have been handy if I wanted to continue at St Martin's in this way). Even so, I chose a Film, TV and Video Degree instead. However, many years later, through a lull working as a freelance filmmaker, a resurgence of art and design skills occurred, where I found myself part hand illustrating, part computer designing logos and posters for friends and family. Eventually, I took a short course in Photoshop - taught to me by my line-manager at Greenwich Community College (GCC), as I was now finding myself designing at a semi-professional level. And I found myself taking photographs again, only this time prolifically.

All About U children's ministry logo

Jandon creative company logo

Petit Papillon children's clothing company logo

I learned how to take photos on an SLR, develop negatives, and process print in a darkroom at school. At St Martins I honed my skills, and afterwards, wherever I could get access to a camera and a darkroom, I would be continuously taking snaps of ‘decisive moments’ on the street, on holiday, or whilst rehearsing plays for Empty Pockets Theatre Company (EPTC). Eventually, I kicked the habit until it was replaced very much later with my Sony Cybershot compact digital camera, and then an 8 megapixel Sony Experia mobile phone camera. Arty holiday snaps, photos of my wife and family, and possible film locations, were quickly taken with minimal fuss, and transferred to a computer for sudden viewing and storing.

Torre Vista - location shooting around Lewisham with my DSLR

Clerkenwell Back Street - great location for a film shoot?
- photo taken from my mobile phone

The Shell Building, South Bank - one of my favourite buildings
- photo taken on my Sony Cybershot

Nile, Luxor, Egypt
- photo taken on my Sony Cybershot 

Secluded beach, Carvoeiro, Portugal
- photo taken on my Sony Cybershot

Demerara River, Guyana
- photo taken on my Sony Cybershot

The magic of Adobe Photoshop came to me late, but when it did there was no looking back. This image and graphics software meant that I could not only enhance the quality and look of a photo, but I could (to say the least) retouch, restore, and colourise if necessary. As a design tool I have used it to experiment with image and text graphics, photo montages, photo and image editing and digital art. Much like my previous learning of digital video editing and motion graphic softwares, I am always tinkering and always learning something new. 

Autumn Sheds, Sidcup Art and Community Education Centre
- digital-painting using Photoshop

Car Crash
- digital 'photo-graphic' using Photoshop

*Martin Kennedy, my Secondary School art teacher, was hugely influential with the development of my ability and understanding of art. In fact he got me my very first job working as a Gallery Invigilator, at the Riverside Studios, Hammersmith.


Popular Posts