Talk us through a normal day creating art...
Arrive at studio, have a coffee and look at previous days work, If I decide its finished I'll begin some new work. I might have a canvas ready or I'll stretch and prepare a new one. In the meantime I'll make works on paper, drawings in graphite or oil pastel with collage elements, or smaller paintings. Once you're in the flow of working its quite intense, stopping to eat or even to go home depends on the progress you've made with the work, you never like to leave the studio without the work being at some kind of satisfactory stage.
Your work seems to be inspired by the urban environment, with materials taken from the construction industry. What drove you to include these within your work?
My Father and myself worked on building sites, there is a long tradition of the Irish coming to England to work in construction, so the use of these materials is connected to personal identity also the ubiquitousness of these materials and construction sites in London, a constantly morphing city, with the issues, negative and positive that arise from it.
What is your earliest memory?
Dropping an Ice-cream into the sand on the beach.
What’s your opinion on the London art scene as it is today?
There are different London art scenes. I live in South East London, in the Deptford/New Cross area, which still has a quite raw, thriving scene. It is important that artists are given the space and opportunity to make interesting work. The powers that we do not understand this, they want to capitalise on London's reputation as an internationally leading creative hub but don't understand how this needs investment and nurturing in order to survive. A worrying development in recent years is the lack of funding for students, especially those from poorer backgrounds, if artists are not emerging from these areas, the London art scene will become bland and one-dimensional.
As an artist who breaks beyond the conventional notion of what a canvas should look like, what drives you to create formally experimental art?
I have struggled in the past with painting as a medium, how relevant it is and all that, but I've kept coming back to it, something primal I think. After a break from it I thought about how I could approach it differently and make it new for myself. I was looking a lot at the work of Robert Ryman at the time, that idea of a kind of deconstructed type of painting, which lead me to explore, different materials, supports, formats etc. This allowed me to fall in love with painting all over again which lead me back eventually to painting on a regular, rectangular canvas, which I'm doing more of now.
Francis Bacon was the artist who first inspired you to become an artist. Which artist inspires you most now?
I suppose I should mention Robert Ryman again for bringing me back in from the cold. My partner Yvette Blackwood is a painter who always inspires me. I also admire fearless artists like Lou Reed and Mark E Smith, both dead now unfortunately. A current painter I like, still very much alive is Patricia Treib.
In another life, what job might you have chosen?
Writer or musician.
What’s your theme tune?
'Living too late' by The Fall or 'Just a little lovin' by Dusty Springfield.
Outside of the art world, what makes you get out of the bed in a morning?
London always feels full of possibility.