Can you explain the thinking behind ‘398’ Productions ?

My work has diversified quite radically of late, becoming much more various in terms of both content and media; it has broadened from a from a concentration only on painting to also include print, photography, drawing, installation and text pieces. I was looking to create a single umbrella heading to cover this expanded situation and more or less chanced upon the notion of a sort of parody company. I have spent my entire career outside of any commercial context so the notion, involving inevitably a bit of irony, amused me. ‘398’, which is my house number, seemed to fit the purpose having also a reference to Picabia’s Dadaist journal ‘391’ which itself referenced the earlier Steiglitz / Steichen photo-secession 291 Gallery in New York.

Might this variousness that you mention perhaps lead to a confusion or muddling of identity ?

Quite possibly, but as this is the way I work and my mind works, I am I think stuck with it. I have no interest whatever in developing a single signature style for example. I have a sense of the diverse nature of contemporary experience and while this experience may well be superficial it is certainly wide ranging, what you lose in depth you gain in breadth perhaps. I hope that it is possible to in fact be ‘deep about surface’. To me it is perfectly natural, in this context, to adopt different means to deal with different material.

You use the word genre fequently when discussing your work. Why is this so important to you?

Genres develop their shapes, structures, forms and rules over time and this makes them recognisable as what they are. Any portrait, for example, has all previous portraits, the history of portraiture, if you like, somehow embedded within it. I find it interesting to work within the accepted constraints or ‘rules’ of genres  and to ‘play’ with them and/ or exert a contemporary pressure on from within. They provide a framework against which I can work I suppose. I am therefore not in the least concerned, as artists often are, with formal innovation to break down or blur these categories.

You have described your working process as a form of drifting. Does not ‘drifting’ imply a lack of drive or focus in your work ?

Well indeed some will see it that way. I prefer though to think of it as an ongoing organic creative process. New pieces, which seem to appear in my head of their own volition have to wait their time to be made, they get done when they are somehow ready to get done, when all the elements fall into place. I prefer not to mess with this process having seen too much work that, for me, is too one dimensional in its procedure; the artist as an ‘idea’, makes it then moves on, I prefer to let things settle a little first, the ‘drifting’ therefore allows projects to mature properly or sometimes not get made at all.

So where do you get your ideas ?

I think the short answer is that I dont think of myself as having ideas. The pieces come to mind ready-made somehow before going through the process just described. I think this can happen if an artist has a consistent set of concerns that evolve over a period of time; the pieces pop into the head out of an ongoing involvement. So I would say that some of my work looks conceptual but isn't.

There is a recurring use of everyday, mundane, even banal material in your work,could you say a little about that ?

I make things, pieces of art,from often already existing material. In that sense I am certainly a material boy living in a material world. I tend to take something and do something else with it, I use the term ‘turn’ for this process, which I absorbed from the situationists notion of ‘detournement’. I’m drawn to use the everyday environment that immediately surrounds me,both actual and in terms of printed material and photographic imagery.

What are you trying to express or communicate in your work ?

Well I am a little hardline about communication and expression, I could say in fact that I am not trying to express or communicate anything at all. What I have is some sort of inner need to make these pieces, to bring them into the world as it were. I make them on their own terms as well as I am able and that's it. I like it if people like them and like it even more if they find some resonance with them. But its anyone's guess what happens, viewers will respond in terms of their own interests, priorities, assumptions and prejudices; I have no control over how people will respond, in the end its just pot luck really.