For as long as I can remember, I have kept a sketchbook. When I lived in NYC, I used to make sketches of people on the subway. These sketches still give me a fright with their tactile sense of the weirdness of NY people.
These sketches have a cartoon reality, and they really helped me in my mission to create an art which recreated the visual world around me. Of course, these were the days before Guiliani and ‘zero tolerance’. So there is plenty of palpable danger and dirt in these drawings. Before the poor and homeless, the crazies and druggies were rounded up and hidden away goodness knows where.
Don’t get me wrong, it was a wonderfully stimulating time to be in New York, and I still feel lucky to have been around during those heady days. But when I moved to London in 1984, things were different.
For one thing, I found life to be a little more gentle. Instead of focusing on ‘crazies and druggies’ I was living in a place which was peppered with nature – trees, parks, and the natural world as a part of city life. Quite a change! Before long, I even had a dog! Ah, nature!
Gradually, my approach to sketching as a diary changed. I began to soften with the influence.
I have always been concerned to create work which has movement and a lightness. I have never had a desire to create the heavy lump of a thing which feels dead and lifeless. For this reason, drawings in motion are particularly relevant in my practise. Before creating a series of sculptures about the wind, I made this sketch:
Recently, while working on ideas for sculptures of cycling, I once again made simple animated sketches. These informed the final sculptures, and hopefully kept the sense of movement intact.
Even the simplest feeling of walking in the snow, was begun with a simple drawn animation. This little animation helped me develop a series of works which had the feeling of slow, methodical movement of Taking a Walk.
In my recent ambitious project, Moment to Moment, the entire installation was conceived as a stop motion film. Over 100 sculptures were like individual frames of an animation. The idea was tested in a short film, but in the end the film remained in the viewer own mind. By walking through the exhibition, the movement was recreated in the imagination of the spectator.