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I call myself an artist.  Is that a little pretentious?  Maybe naive or ignorant?  It depends on the definition and on the principles of art.

Art is the individual expression of an authentic personal experience in a way that aspires to be aesthetic.  The artist, and only the artist, should decide what and how to create and what art is to that artist.  I create art because it is an urgent need coming from within to express myself and to communicate, not born from outside influences.  It is not a democratic process.  My work is art because it is my authentic intention to create art, and that is not contingent on how my work is perceived by any external observer.

Artistic Expression

I call myself an artist because my work is an authentic and intentional expression of my personal experience, an expression that aspires to be aesthetic.  My goal is to express my feelings in a way that triggers a fresh experience for the observer, to move and inform them.

My intention is to communicate a message, an idea, a feeling or experience, with my work.  That message, idea, feeling or experience is the subject matter of my work.  The temples of Angkor are the object matter that trigger my response.

For me, artistic impression requires moving away from reality to create beauty.  To achieve this, I use a range of techniques:

  • I make printed images that are a scaled, two-dimensional version of reality as seen from a singular perspective.

  • I work in black and white or monochrome.

  • I paint the image to “shape the light”, using delicate chiaroscuro modelling to create the perception of depth and presence, to guide the eye of the observer.

  • I make use of subtle colour tones to enhance that sense of depth subliminally.

I work in black and white because I find it helps me to realise my vision, to express my feelings, to create atmosphere and evoke emotion.  It helps me to reveal the essence of things, the spirit of the place.  I feel that black and white has more soul!

Someone wise once said:  “One looks at a colour picture, but one looks into a black and white image”.

Golden Angkor

I’m always in search of new ways to move away from objective reality in order to better express my subjective feelings for the spirit of the place, to find my voice.

To this end, I recently started a new collection of my work titled Golden Angkor.

While working on images of the ancient bas-relief stone carvings at Angkor Wat, it struck me that the original photographs I was using in my work had a rich golden tone.  The bright Cambodian sunlight, reflecting off the verdant jungle that surrounds the temple and onto the warm sandstone carvings, seemed to make them glow from within.

I followed my usual process, creating black and white images and shaping them to realise my vision, to express the feelings that the scene invoked in me.  And I loved the result.  But the original golden tones still haunted me, they were part of what invoked my emotional response as I stood before these magnificent carvings.

Eventually, I decided to depart from my usual black and white only approach to explore those feelings.  Over several months I developed new techniques for capturing that mysterious golden glow that seems to come from within the ancient stone.

These images are still essentially monochromatic, they are black and gold rather than black and white, and I still use the full range of techniques that I’ve developed over the years to capture the spirit of Angkor in these works.  The images still invite you to look deeply into them.

Many will prefer my black and white images, and as a matter of personal preference I still make my work mostly using toned black and white, but as an alternative vision I am proud to present to you my new series of fine art prints:  Golden Angkor.


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