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I WOULD SAY MY BACKGROUND IS NOT TYPICAL FOR AN AUTOMOTIVE ARTIST.
I came to it late in life and I had no real involvement with the world of cars. I've always been interested in art from as young an age as I can remember but in my formative years I never made the connection between art and making a living. Nobody that I knew earned money by painting pictures. It was a hobby thing, something that people did at evening class or at best taught in school and I was sure I didn't want to teach. My parents were very encouraging but they had no more idea than I did about how to turn a natural talent for drawing into a way of earning a living. So it was that I headed into adulthood leaving the dream of being an artist to fade into the background behind the responsibilities of making my way in the world. It would be decades later before that dream was re-kindled.
Rolling Back The Years

Those Were The Days Joe  
  
I once read a quotation, "Women will never be as successful as men because they have no wives to advise them". I couldn't help but smile because behind every successful artist there is usually a long-suffering wife or partner who has played a more than significant role in that success. So it is with me and it all began with encouragement from Lorraine to dust off that deeply buried ambition to somehow be an artist or else accept the alternative – the inevitable regret at the end of my life that I had never tried. I was feeling jaded with my job as a graphic designer and I felt the need to be more personally creative. Nevertheless, in my anxiety I threw in every "reason not to" that I could muster until she had calmly overturned all of my objections and gave me the confidence to finally give it a go.



Secret Liason
Why automotive art? Well it was a combination of pragmatism and a simple twist of fate. After handing in my notice at work and the security of a monthly salary I realised that I simply didn't have time to "find myself" and go on an indulgent journey of self-expression. The world of art viewed from the bottom rung of the ladder is quite simply immense and it would be so easy to get lost trying to find one's true path in that maze of possibilities. I needed to make the decision quickly about which road to follow and a trip to Silverstone Race Track for an Historic Race meeting brought me into contact with two "firsts" in my life – classic cars and an exhibition of automotive art.

Fast approaching my 40th birthday I knew nothing about historic Bugatti and Maserati grand prix cars. Discovery of their existence and all the sights, sounds and smells of them racing was intoxicating. The same day I walked into an exhibition of paintings depicting these fabulous machines and it was as clear as day what I was going to do next. Probably for the first time in my life I had a sense of certainty about what I wanted to do and it was a liberating emotion. Who were these guys who painted these wonderful images? I didn't just want to find out - I wanted to join their ranks as soon as possible!

Lap Of The Gods


The nuts and bolts of how I got started and progressed probably bear similarities with many other artists. We all go through a learning curve. As in all creative endeavours you have to pay your dues and how you start often bears little connection to where you end up. The jumping off point for me was motor racing history and like many before me I plundered the old photographs trying to find ones that excited my imagination that hadn't already been exhausted by all the automotive artists who got there before me. A short series entitled "Road Racing Pioneers" followed where I tried to capture some of the excitement and heroism of those early cars and drivers. However, I quickly realised that there was very little of me in the images apart from an evolving style of painting.

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