In my 2nd year of university, I tried using oils for the first time. I had created a large blue abstract piece with layers and layers of blue and white paint with a pallet knife. My lecturers took one look and told me that because I had been focusing on photography, I should continue in this medium for my final show. I laid down my brushes, gave away my oils and carried on taking photos and making short films.

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I graduated from Nottingham Trent University in 2003 in Fine Art BA (HONS). In 2004, I decided to re-visit the canvas. I couldn’t afford expensive equipment so I used what I could. I didn’t have any brushes so I just started to apply the oil directly to the canvas using my fingers. All of my paintings are done this way, apart from 2 of the images “German Girl” and “Burlesque” where a fine brush was required for the lips and the highlights on the eye.

Hours and hours, sometimes, months have gone into these pieces – applying, re-applying, sometimes scrapping the whole thing, and then starting again. In some of the work you can see the original painting underneath or seeping through.

All of my paintings come from my own photography – friends, professional dancers and those who simply wanted a portrait of themselves were all subjects. I tried to make each painting an honest representation of that person.

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