Its all work

“The most important decision is when to stop. I can’t control when to start.”

Are you working towards something specific or are you unconcerned about the directions your work might take?
There are many reasons why I work. One is usually to discover something I hadn’t thought about before. The consequence of this and partly a reason to start is the element of surprise. But in my commercial work I am always working towards something very, very specific. A large part of the goal is pursuing the detailed description of the outcome. Absolutely nothing is attempted without carefully defined objectives. I see my artwork as a reaction to this, so I try not to apply these basic strategies. It is not that I am unconcerned regarding the direction a piece of work may take it is that I won’t allow such concerns. However I mostly fail in this respect.
 
What artist or artists inspired you?
Definitely Brian Eno. I can’t really articulate the reasons for this except that his ideas and attitude keep cropping up whenever I make observations about most things.
 
What wouldn’t you do without?
I keep thinking my computers. But without them I’d probably find alternative methods of work. The tools partly define the work I do. But not having the tools would impose interesting challenges. That could be a positive thing and open up areas I hadn’t considered.
So I’d say the desire to do well. I probably couldn’t do anything noteworthy without that.
 
What role does the artist have in society?
Can’t think of a single one, if you are referring to fine art. Historically civilisations are measured by their art. As things like advertising, commercial arts, TV or its equivalent, were quite transient in times past, mostly architecture, and other things with a long lifespan remain to this day. This measure is a by-product of collectable evidence.
At the time I’m sure it was never the goal of the artists. In the future will the art made today be used to measure our civilisation? It is impossible to know. I very much doubt it. There will be other things.
 
Does fine art still have a place in a world dominated by commercial art?
There is some cross pollination; no art can exist in isolation. The best image makers’ work is all around us. You don’t necessarily find it in a gallery. The greatest talent is where most of the money is. So I think its place has been eroded.
 
Is this place justified?
It doesn’t really have the enormous financial backing that commercial art thrives on. I now see it as a source for commercial art. I am generalising here just to make my point. Of course I know there are exceptions. But mainly that’s about it.
 
How has your practice change over time?
I used to work in oils and acrylics like most artists did, even when I used to illustrate the covers of magazines. But since the early 80’s apart from a few exceptions my work private and commercial has been done on and with computers.
 
Do you believe you have control over this?
No, I can’t control technology or the outside demands placed on my work. I mainly go with the flow; it’s all I can do.
 
Name three artists you’d like to be compared to.
I’m not sure what is meant by this question. Compared to whom, visually? I hope my work doesn’t look like others. And I can’t think of myself being compared to people I greatly admire. It’s counterproductive because I would no longer be in awe of their great achievements. If you mean how do I see myself within a contemporary context? I am contemporary and so is every other living artist. Name me three successful artists; I’d like to be compared to them.
 
How do you separate your art from your commercial work?
I don’t separate my work like I used to. I have often used images from my commercial work. In any case it doesn’t matter in what capacity, whether I’m functioning as a fine artist, producer or commercial artist, I’m just making ‘Visual Decisions’ of variying importance.
 
What are the most important decisions? 
The most important decision is when to stop. I can’t control when to start.
 
Why not just paint?
I used to. Then I found I was repeating myself. Preconceived self-conscious acts like painting only re-state what I already know. There are no real surprises for me. To accomplish this surprise element an outside controlling force is needed like chance or a photograph and an applied system. I might go back to it one day though.
 
You see photography’s role purely as a means to a chance input?
Essentially for some aspects of my work, yes. The prime function of photography is the transportation of visual information. On the face of it is the best tool to date. And that’s why I still use it.
 
Which comes first, the image or the prescription?
It might sound like it but I don’t work it all out beforehand. In reality it is a lot more haphazard than it seems. I don’t always see the implications immediately.
I believe many crucial observations are in fact afterthoughts, time has a collating affect. And sometimes things are revealed when layered by time.  That is when I think ‘I should have done it this way, any way!’
I do all my best work in retrospect.