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My work

I first discovered charcoal pencils about 20 years ago - like most artists I tried a bit of everything, but was finding myself increasingly focused on drawing mediums because they allowed me to create very detailed work. I'd picked up a cheap packet of charcoal pencils in a local department store and was immediately hooked. They gave me crisp sharp points for the finest of lines but with much greater contrast and a matt finish to the shadows. Over the years I've refined my technique and created distinct themes like my dark box drawings below - objects photographed in a home-built setup that are then drawn with charcoal pencil and velvety carbon block on paper to create simple yet very dramatic compositions.


Charcoal is a wonderfully versatile medium and I have used it to explore more ephemeral things too - moonlight, fog, even a spectral dragon (though I did curse myself for thinking that one up, after I'd started...). Whatever the subject, what I am essentially drawing is the light - or rather, where it isn't. That might seem a slightly backwards way on of doing things and maybe it is, but it's my way and it expresses how I see the world - hence the name, Drawing in Dark. I always feel I can express things far better in my artwork than I can using the written word, pictures really do tell a story, so I'm letting the next selection from the book Tales in Sombre Tones explain that for me. The book itself was a collaborative project with author Sean Walter and contains 24 stories, each with a full page illustration.

It was that book that prompted the biggest change in my work yet - when it came to promoting the book, we both wanted our tour to be engaging, approachable. For the first time in a long time, I stepped back and looked at what I was doing from an audiences point of view - not in the sense of whether or not they were going to like it, but how they might appreciate and respond to it. That threw up some very interesting questions about perception, our sensory capabilities and so I am starting a new journey which takes those charcoal drawings and turns them into something new, something that can be picked up and played with. As we all know, that is not something normally encouraged where easily smudgeable pieces are concerned.  The pictures and video below are a taste of what is to come, what can be added to enhance sensory experience and allow audiences not normally catered for by the visual arts to attend mainstream exhibitions.


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