Tell us a bit about yourself…
My earliest memories are drawing and making things – being engrossed in putting something together, be it with mud, Lego, pens or paint, and completely focused, almost lost in the creative process. I have travelled extensively around Asia and done several stints in London and now live in rural mid-Wales with my partner (artist Billie Ireland) and our three young children, surrounded by rolling hills, forests and lots of sheep. Most of our nearest and dearest live in Nottingham, I have a fond connection with my home town and make regular trips back.
What was the inspiration behind the cover?
For all of us, 2020 has been a very strange and surreal year. As we steadily approach the end of this year, I felt that the cover needed to shout out with bright psychedelic optimism, combined with a dose of macabre satire. What else instils a sense of wonder and optimism more than the sight of the rising sun combined with a majestic snow-capped mountain peak with cake and fine wine? The style of the artwork is part-inspired by Persian Miniatures along with Buddhist Art from Nepal and Tibet. I highly appreciate the power that these works impose on the viewer and how they can spiritually inspire. I hope that this cover makes people smile or laugh, it would be nice to think it merely achieves that.
How does it compare with some other projects you’ve worked on?
I am fortunate in that most projects I have worked on have provided me the freedom for some cheeky fun, such as putting Donald Trump’s head on a plate and shoving it under the party table while the viewer looks on towards higher places and the upcoming new year.
Tell us about some projects you’ve worked on in the past…
I’ve been lucky to work on numerous covers for LeftLion over the past fourteen years and this cover is my sixth. The first one was back in March 2006 (feels like 1906) for Issue #10. I think of myself as being a multidisciplinary artist and I simply like to make things. My experience spans abstract painting, illustration and graphics through to digital animation and web design. In the late nineties and early 2000s I was commissioned to create the cover artwork for Bent’s debut album Programmed To Love. Developing the artwork was an exciting creative challenge and what really helped was that I loved their music too.
What have you got planned for the future?
I am currently halfway through a Masters Degree in Fine Art. In the short-term I am focused on generating a body of paintings for the two final exhibitions which shall take place in May and September of 2021. My long term plans are mixed, but I would like to take my children to see some of India. I plan to complete the renovation of our home and insulate what shall be our studio at the back of the house. The latter currently being the most important on the list as a fully functioning studio work space shall enable all of my other plans to come to fruition. There is much to do.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell the LeftLion readers?
Be kind to one another, life is short and precious. Have a great Christmas, but in these crazy times please stay safe!