About

I was born in Scotland, have a Masters of Arts degree  from Glasgow University and studied fine art in Northern Ireland. I have lived in a bunch of places and am now based in Malmö: the comicville of the Nordic countries. “Making” intrigues me, whether that is knitting a jumper or building a whale out of wire.
I couldn’t decide between working with form and colour or language and stories, or whether to work alone in the studio or outside with other people.

So I didn’t decide and I do all of it. Just not at the same time.

If you would like to read about my art/nature education work in Swedish,
read my blog at Pedagog Malmö.

 

Art

What is art? Is it something only a genius can do? Are you born an artist? Or can you become one, the same way that Simone de Beauvoir said that women are not born but made? “On ne naît pas femme: on le devient.” Are we all artists like Joseph Beuys thought  “Jeder Mensch ein Künstler.” Is art something you do? Or something you say? Or something you make? Or something you love? Or something you sell?

What about James Baldwin’s take: “The precise role of the artist, then, is to illuminate that darkness, blaze roads through that vast forest, so that we will not, in all our doing, lose sight of its purpose, which is, after all, to make the world a more human dwelling place.”

My art practice is all about these questions.
And making.

 

Comics

I started off with Beryl the Peril. And of course the ubiquitousBroons and Our Wullie. One boy drew an X-rated version of The Broons in maths class and got into big trouble. But the comic was hilarious. And I read 2000 AD  that my brother bought every week. Studying in France I discovered À Suivre and Asterix en français.

And then … years later … I read Perspolis by Marjane Satrapi. Definitely not the male gaze and a humdinger of a graphic novel. So I finally got it. There are stories to be told and this a genre for doing it. It is not easy to get the interplay between text and image right. At the same time, anyone can pick up a pen. So I did.

 

Land Art

The Tate defines Land Art as coming from the conceptual art of the 1960s and 1970s. Yet although the term may be new, making art from nature is the first art human beings (or even Neanderthals) ever made – what other materials did they have?

Andy Goldsworthy is perhaps one of the most famous land artists in the world, he has been working directly with nature pretty much as long as he has been an artist. He is inspiring, but he is not the only land artist out there. I work both on my own and with groups. It is a way of communication and connection –in the street, the forest, the sea – the options are endless.

Writing

I love Neil Gaiman‘s story of how he was a feral child brought up by librarians. I can’t remember not being able to read. I used to visit friends, read all their books and then go home without actually playing with them. I drew and wrote and made stuff as well, but mostly I read stories.

“So why did you study languages and literature?” people ask sometimes. “Because I wanted to read lots of books, travel and actually be able to talk to people”. I ended up with an old-fashioned humanities degree. And work as a translator.
And I still like reading and writing stories.

Workshops

I hold workshops with adults, young people and children, indoors and outdoors. I work especially with land art, process-led art and drawing as communication.