I always liked to have a camera with me. Taking snapshots on nights out, scenery on holiday and the occasional experiment with perspective involving toy soldiers and real houses.
I loved art in school, but wasn’t keen on the regimented way it was ‘ran’. I much preferred doing my own thing, drawing what I wanted, in the style I chose. I was around 14 or 15 when I fell in love with music. And it tied in sort of with my first art exam at school as we could choose to represent ‘an album cover’ as one of the pieces. I went with the ‘advice’ of my tutor and painted. I never liked paint. It never did what I wanted, and it never gave me enough expression. But I compromised and painted, however I did not compromise on the design. I expressed a feeling around the story of a soldier sent to war and finally hanged for doing his ‘job’. Admittedly it wasn’t immediate, there were no flowers or bright colours and heavily leant on the ‘death’ theme, but the story was there if you looked for it, as I looked for stories in the album covers that were building my life.
The tutor was unimpressed and suggested that art maybe wasn’t my thing. So after that I only drew for myself for a long time. The only exception being when I persuaded my folks to let me draw a band mascot covering one of the walls of my bedroom.
At college, concerts became a weekly event, and a camera became a part of the night too. Photographing from the front row bands that would go on to be nothing, and the occasional band that made waves in the music world was a great buzz. A combination of the two things that spoke to me in a big way.
The art was still there, as I turned my hand at decorating the envelopes of letters to friends. Copies of album covers mostly, but they brightened the recipient’s days, even if the letters themselves were just rambles.
After college, work took over and so I lost the artistic bug again for a while, but still liked to have a camera by my side whenever I could.
As work and life took over more of my breathing time, art and photos took a back seat for a while. I found the internet and, using ‘dial-up’ technology before there were such things as broadband and lap-tops I found message boards where fans of bands could chat about stuff.
Eventually on one such board I posted some photos I had taken. One of the other users there liked those pictures and suggested that I might be interested in an organisation called ‘TSLO’. I looked into it, and the idea was that I should exhibit some of my art at an up-coming show in Odense.
‘Wow!’. My art, on a wall, where the public can look at it. A dream come true.
Plans were made, photos found and taken, frames purchased. We decided we would go over to see them in the gallery as I figured it would be the only chance to see such a thing.
Words cannot describe the feeling of seeing your work, hanging in a public gallery. It is something I will never forget though.
Another two years of TSLO exhibitions came and went, and each time I felt honoured to be deemed good enough to show – even when I submitted art that was truly badly done.
After the TSLO unfortunately came to an end, I managed to do the occasional drawing, and actually even sold a commission to a boss at work.
‘Art Without Borders’ came to me last year and asked me to contribute, so I gladly sent work off to be shown in Cologne and sold one of my photographs as a result.
I am ready again this year as part of ‘Art Without Borders’ to contribute, the exhibition this year due to start next month.
Thankfully TSLO, AWB and now LIA have provided me with many friends from across the globe who in turn, provide me with inspiration, enthusiasm and a reason to keep drawing and photographing.
Phew! If you made it through all that, then you deserve a sit down and a cup of tea.