In 1997 I was sharing a studio just off Bermondsey Street in South East London with 4 other artists. My section of the studio was particularly small and I had limited space in which to work. Wall space was especially scarce; two walls of the room were glazed while another had to be used for storing my various tools and paints. This left one solitary wall for painting and a small area between the windows where I could pin a sheet of watercolour paper to a board and scribble down notes, ideas and sketches. Over time these sheets would become so cluttered with layers of information that I’d have to change them. Slowly the sheets began to pile up in the corner like Persian rugs and I came to think of them as works in their own right rather than just a preparatory activity. They became an open space into which I could paint, write and think freely.
I usually exhibit the drawings non chronologically in large groups forming a glazed wall. Thus the paper has always remained exactly the same size despite it being years since I left that original studio. Recently I have also been working at ¼ scale as the original size can sometimes be too cumbersome for the thing that i’m trying to capture.
Two decades since I first began drawing them, It has become commonplace to post daily status updates and images on one’s “wall” in various forms of social media, however I still find something fascinating about this simple process of working on paper. The nature of the drawings themselves has changed as I have. They provide me not only with a sketchbook of ideas and events but also a way of recording very subtle long term changes and associations in my life and work – works forming long before I was consciously aware that I was making them.