"Twisted Realism" A visual artist, creating moody black and white tonal drawings in charcoal, pastel and graphite. Inspired by the human figure, story telling and Europe.


"I'll Meet You Under The Railway Bridge..." (180cmx90cm) Charcoal, Pastel and Graphite on Paper

Inspired by my time in Vernazza, I created this drawing. 
It's a snapshot of the people and beautiful port that makes up this little village, that oozes from the cliffs over-looking the Mediterranean. 
The title comes from a telephone call I made when we arrived in the town. I had to ring the mysterious Ms. Bianchi. At the other end of the phone was an Italian voice that spoke in perfectly fractured English. Enthusiastically, she implored me to meet her under the railway bridge, in order to guide us to our accommodation.

The making of this work was filmed. You can follow it's construction on the following page entry. 

Creation of a Twisted Realism

My first steps into youtube.

A photo was taken every 10 minutes during the 35 hours it took to complete the drawing, and then condensed into a 3.30min movie.

This work is an experimental piece based around my experience of Vernazza, Italy. I wanted to tell the story of my time in this small coastal village, one of the picture book Cinque Terra towns, and thought that a cartoon strip concept might be a novel way of doing it.
It's the first of a number of cartoon strips that will tell stories.


Journal Pages from Europe - Montmartre (Paris)

Sepia photos by Peter Hollard

 "It's 5.00pm before I head up the hill to Montmartre. It's getting to the end of the tourist season, but the crowds are still steady. My goal is to find the lady in the Peintre's market who I spoke to the other night. She was bright, friendly and spoke English. I find her. Her name is Evelyn and she gives me some clues to places I might visit outside Paris, to spend some time and do some art. Obligingly, she scrawls some names on a paper bag."

Page from European Journal

"At Sacre Coeur there is a makeshift concert on the steps leading up to the cathedral. Three guys are playing simple funky music. I sit with the crowd and am moved by the warm evening air, the sounds, the oneness of a large group of people, and the gently sprawling city in front of me that is Paris. Metal rooftops catch the last rays of the sun. It's magical. It's perfect."

‘Paris Pulse” (114.5 x 76.5 cm) Charcoal, Pastel, Graphite on Paper

At dusk, I would wander the streets of Paris up to Montmartre. 
Amongst the artists and gargoyles, the tinkering cutlery and emptying plates, the beautiful and the curious, cigarette smoke and sausages, espressos and laughter, a steady pulsating rhythm of music flowed from the wide steps running down from Sacre Coeur. 
I joined the crowd and listened, and savored, as evening descended. From this spot, the whole of Paris sparkled into life before me, as if a gift. Just as I was about to burst, in the far distance, the Eiffel Tower danced into life in a pulsating blue frenzy. 
I think this is my favourite spot in Paris. If you don’t shed a tear at these sublime moments, you are without heart.
How can you not love Paris? Beautiful, beautiful Paris.


The Generation of an Idea

"Granville Musings" (115cm x 200cm) Charcoal, Pastel and graphite on Brown Paper, 2011

When I am working on one of my drawings, I am always open to spontaneity, serendipity, and other chance occurrences that wander through my head. In the past I needed to have the image pretty well worked out in my journal before I commenced, but then I started reading about Dadaism, and how chance played an enormous part in their creativity. In particular the written word, but music and visual art were all heavily influenced by this movement. Immersing myself in Dadaism gave me permission to let go and be open to all ideas. If in the middle of a piece of work now I am hit with an idea, I automatically honour it and incorporate it in my art without questioning it's relevance. I will make the new idea fit.

But this need I have to honour the idea, is partly to do with where I believe ideas may originate from. The Ancient Greeks believed we were privileged enough to be merely channelling ideas from elsewhere in the universe. If it was a great idea you weren't feigned as a genius, you were merely the one chosen to bring it to light. Conversely, if the idea stank, it wasn't your fault either, the gods got it wrong! Either way the artist's reputation remained in tact. 
The American poet Ruth Stone could see "a thunderous train of air coming down over the landscape"  where she lived in the mid-west. The wind was ladened with a new idea. She would run furiously to her house to get a piece of paper, for if the ideas passed over and she wasn't ready, someone further along, would collect and use them.

I need to grab that idea when it comes to me, record it, and use it without questioning!

“The Torment” (114.5 x 76.5 cm) Charcoal, Pastel, Graphite on Paper

Tormented to the point of distraction, 
each day is a defeat 
as I reside in these hours 
of mediocrity. 
I know what’s out there, 
but can’t quite get to it.