I have always been a collector, and a reoccuring theme of my work is making order out of chaos. I like putting disparate objects together to make images that tell a story. My work that jointly won the Harley Prize was inspired by last year’s 250th anniversary of circus, an ideal opportunity for me to use some of my large collection of theatre and circus memorabilia.
It’s hard to compare this piece with my other projects, as everything I do is varied. For instance, I am currently working on a series of small objects portraying medieval saints and martyrs, using old boxes, tins and dolls. The result is something a bit tongue in cheek.
I studied Art at Chesterfield College of Art and Leeds University in the 1960s and seventies, and then worked in theatre design and museums. Later, I became an antiques and junk dealer. I live in Derbyshire, having moved back five years ago after forty years in West Yorkshire.
Obviously I was very pleased to be named a winner of the Harley Prize, but I was also extremely surprised as there was so much good work on show. The Harley Gallery has had some really impressive exhibitions and it’s a wonderful space to have your work exhibited. Before this, I have exhibited in London, Leeds, Halifax, Accrington and a few other places. One thing I really enjoyed and which gave me a lot of satisfaction was an arts project with adults with learning disabilities.
In the future I hope to exhibit more widely, and am taking part in the Derbyshire Open Studios weekend at the end of May and have a joint exhibition in Leeds in September. But mainly I just want to keep working at what I love doing. I don’t really care if people like it or not; it’s the doing of it and the process that matters to me.