I've always had people laughing at my work – the stuff that was meant to be funny, that is – which was great, but laughs aren't what I'm after now. I'm originally from Lancashire but I've been living in Nottingham for twenty-odd years now. For the past ten years, I’ve been using a graphics tablet to create humorous illustrations and greeting cards which a lot of people locally know me for. But lately I've gone analogue again and I'm painting abstracts – I feel deeply passionate about this new direction; it's really exciting.
The work I'm doing is all about creating really interesting surfaces. I build up lots of layers using acrylic paint, sanding them down and working on top of them again. I'm really into colour and currently I like using orange and grey – they're so sexy together! I love to use colours which give me, and hopefully the viewer, a little zing of excitement.
Recently I started using bits of collage too, to add more texture and interest. I was after some handwriting but I couldn't really be bothered to do any – then I thought “Aha! I've got Blather!” (I do the illustration for Adrian Reynold's Blather pieces on page 8). I layered up a few of them in Photoshop and printed it out, and that's the black and white section you can see in the painting. I get a bit of a kick out of that merging of two very different aspects of my work.
Since I've started showing the paintings, I've had some great responses – and sales, which is fantastic. It's always a bit nerve-wracking putting something new out there, and going in a new direction can be scary, especially when people know you for doing something totally different. I've had to be quite firm with myself and not let those doubts stop me from doing what I really want to do. But people call the paintings beautiful, and delicious – which'll do me!