I was born in London in1958 and lived there for 38 years. After leaving Pimlico School in 1976 I went to study fine art at Goldsmith’s College in New Cross. I found myself living a wayward, subterranean existence. Squatting semi-derelict buildings was the answer to overpriced rental accommodation and punk rock was the cultural gateway. It felt like freedom at the time, but came with it’s own challenging insecurities… and unhelpfully, at art school the question of the day was ‘Why’!
After leaving Goldsmith’s, I threw away my paint brushes and got a job as an X-ray porter at the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases.This work and a combination of life experiences lead me to return to college in1984 where I studied Art Therapy at St.Albans College of Art and Psychology. Studying theories about using art as therapy provided me with one profound insight that would re-shape my attitude to art. Through an understanding of the biology of art I discovered that mark-making is a basic human response; the visceral act of drawing is an essential part of early cognitive development. I now had my answer to the question ‘Why’!
Later in the 1980’s, an evolving interest in printmaking and the history of information prompted me to enrol at Central St.Martin’s on a post-graduate Printmaking course. As a commitment to my printmaking activities I founded the Kamikaze Press in 1993 and have used the title as my imprint ever since.
Continuing a dual existence to support my artistic endeavours, I gained employment at a homeless charity called St Mungos were I would work for many future years. The concept of ‘Home’, homelessness and the itinerate printmaker has been a reoccurring theme throughout my life.
In late 1996 an event both traumatic and highly fortuitous would change the course of my life. An accidental fire laid waste to the flat where I lived in North London. I continued to live in this smoke damaged, burnt out shell for several further months until a successful buildings insurance claim finally provided me with enough money to leave.
On 19th January 1997 I flew out of Heathrow Airport towards the Far East.
For someone who had previously never spent more than five weeks outside central London this was a giant leap. After stumbling around South East Asia I eventually found myself in the ancient, oriental city of Hanoi in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
At this time Hanoi was re-opening after a long period of darkness, closed off from the outside world it had been preserved in aspic due to years of war and poverty. The surreal, exotic and extraordinary nature of the place persuaded me to make the place my base of operations from that time onwards…
I share a painting studio with fellow iconoclastic artist Le Quang Ha… and
eventually I married Pham Kim Quy, a daughter of the Revolution!