Optics and sunlight have fascinated me since childhood. Experiments with photography and camera obscura led me to become interested in the physical properties of mirrors and specifically their ablity to capture and reflect the sun. Reflected sunlight has since become a personal symbol representing joy, positivity, human spirit or life itself.
Recent pieces involving mirrors and the public include an Artwork called Ray of Hope which involved a kilometre long line of people either side of the U.S/Mexican border. Each participant wore a mirrored mask which reflected the sun to create a 1000 metre line of light bisecting the border wall.
Another significant mirror piece was called EU SOS which involved over 500 people with mirrors on the white cliffs near Brighton sending a symbolic SOS call to mainland Europe. (This piece took place on the 29th of March 2019 the day which Brexit was first meant to happen. The location was situated right between a Leave and Remain counties.)
Most recently I organised an 80-metre circle of people with mirrors on the Northern Irish border for the second Brexit day as a show of unity in the face of potential border disruption.
The fascinating simplicity of a mirror gives me both material and metaphorical inspirational; the historical symbolism of the mirror as portal to the underworld or means for an individual to contemplate their own reflection/mortality. In the age of the selfie, these dual meanings intrigue me greatly.
Mirrors have held significance for me since childhood. Early experiments with photography and camera obscura led me to become more interested in their physical properties than the image they assisted in creating. Summer holidays spent dismantling SLR cameras, slide projectors and sending morse code signals created an obsession with optics and light, or more specifically, sunlight.
Reflected sunlight now personally represents an ethereal energy symbolising human spirit, hope or life itself.
Along with migration and border issues, these large scale, participatory interventions also take the navigational forms of lay lines as an inspirational source; ancient and invisible routes across the country which form the basis of our present network of towns, transport links, place names and borders.
Territories and borders have been a present theme in my life from growing up along Offa’s Dyke (the historic border between England and Wales.) Crossing over an invisible yet tangible border to go to school or the shops is a routine which feels as natural as it does unnatural. Subtle changes in street signs, building materials, accents and attitudes is something which I have observed and normalised. Navigational lines, borders, and inner mapping of the landscape whether rural or urban, physical or phycological is ingrained in all of our daily lives.
This environmental awareness has led me to appreciate and react to the urban as if it were rural and the countryside as if it were a city. Finding equal vitality within natural or man-made processes and viewing their differing energies and waste products is a constant source of inspiration.
Working outdoors, assimilating into everyday life, and working on location is a very important basis of my practice. Embedding a piece in the environment so that it becomes a part of the community is something I value greatly.
When working in the studio I utilise materials from and found in an environment retaining an essence of a location within the finished piece. When working outdoors I aim towards playfulness by bringing members of the public together and including them within an artwork such as in Ray of Hope or with my outdoor public Installations on the street.
I attempt to break down personal space both physical and mental by creating a participatory experience and creating Artworks which become embedded within people’s everyday life.