About my work:
" I work across a very broad spectrum of techniques. I hate the idea of limiting creativity. I use whatever materials are best for the job in hand, whether it's charcoal, stainless steel, oil paint or silkscreen"
My path into the Art World was a bit unusual. My background is in science and industry. Although trained as a biochemist, I realized I could never work as a team-player, I rejected the typical path of working for a drugs company or Government establishment, early on.
Having grown up by the sea in Pembrokeshire (That's in Wales, UK) I started a boat-building company. We built fishing boats, speed boats, little and big boats. Even canoes ! But by the mid 1990s it was clear the market for the small independent boat builder was dying. Huge international companies were taking over the business. So I started to look for other, related opportunities. The vandal-proof signboards were born
We'd make them for pubs, councils, schools. Hell, we even made some for the Tory party ! But to put the design onto them we used silk screen printing. A wonderful process which can print on any surface using a sort of stencil attached to a nylon mesh printing screen.
THAT, in a roundabout way, back in about 1995 was the start of an arty career.
I quickly learned that you could silkscreen beautiful things onto paper, not just glass kevlar vinylester composite. And people seemed to really love the result. But I've always drawn things. When I was a kid, it was huge, monstrous machines on the back of rolls of wallpaper or in the margin of newspapers. At university, it was diagrams of the mitochondria that power every cell in the body, or the ribosomes that decode DNA, churning out the proteins that run our lives and control everything we do. As a boatbuilder it was complex plans to be translated into curvaceous 3-D shapes.
The temptation as a new artist is to create what you think will please people. To be popular. It's often a mistake to try to do that.
If it's popular, someone will already be doing it. In fact: lots of people will.
Do the unusual, the weird, the obscure, the difficult: draw what you like to draw.
Most people will hate it. But some will love it.
Create art that's not popular, not for "most" people. Be unique.
(IMAGE: "HAZY SUN" silkscreen on 350gsm paper, 1999. Edition sold out)
Things were going well. In 1998, I bought a former industrial site and garage. I made prints and sculpture in the workshops and sold them in the former car sales showroom.
This was, and still is BLACK MOUNTAIN GALLERY.
I built up equipment to do almost anything in the arty line: welded sculpture, printing in techniques ranging from archaic to the most modern digital systems.
Black Mountain Gallery has quite a following. I work here with my mother, the artist Muriel Williams.She's a whole different story !
We're situated at the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park. A massive area of wilderness visited by the more intrepid variety of hill walkers. The SAS (UK's most well 'ard soldiers) even use it for training. A fabulous place to live, but visitors are thin on the ground.
Anyone who wants to visit is more than welcome to do so: but be aware, we're a working studio rather than the traditional gallery: a total mess of half-finished artwork, sculpture bits, picture frames, stuff you MUST NOT touch and industrial strength swearing and occasional shouting.
But you are very, very welcome. Honestly. But please phone first to make sure we're available / not tied down by something that can't possibly be interrupted such as a silk screen print run.